BEST PLACE TO GET IN TOUCH WITH BLACK HISTORY
INGLENOOK COMMUNITY SCHOOL 19 Sackville, 416-393-0560 Few local sites remain that attest to the rich history of blacks in Toronto. Thankfully, some are still standing. St. Lawrence Hall was for a time the centre of the anti-slavery movement in Canada. Osgoode Hall, where in 1861 the case of John Anderson established a clear precedent against allowing former slaves to be extradited to the U.S., holds a special place in black history, as does the Broadview home of William Peyton Hubbard, a baker who was elected alderman in 14 consecutive elections. Yet Inglenook Community School in Corktown, where the home of former Kentucky slaves Thornton and Lucie Blackburn once stood, takes the honours. Excavated as part of a Toronto school board black history project in 1985, the site reminds us that 19thcentury black Torontonians were able to find work, open their own businesses and become prominent members of the community. Thornton Blackburn waited tables in the Osgoode Hall dining room, started the first cab company in Upper Canada and was recognized with his wife in 1999 by the Canadian government as “Persons of National Historic Significance” for their contribution to Toronto’s growth. The couple are buried in the Necropolis Cemetery among some of Toronto’s most prominent historical figures.