Province/Territory: Ontario

Freedom from slavery in Southwestern Ontario

  • 40,000 slaves made it to freedom
  • 29 historic sites to visit
  • 01 North Star that showed slaves the way

Head to southwestern Ontario to hear the stories of triumph from the ancestors of African American slaves. Learn about the underground railroad that carried passengers along an intricate route of houses from slavery to freedom. Stop in Windsor, Puce, Chatham and Buxton and visit the museums, monuments and people who help to frame the story.

Come to understand the life of a slave on the run. Follow the same North Star. Look out into the Historic Walkway and imagine the dogs and the bounty hunters. Step inside the churches that offered safety. Sing the songs that saved lives. Stop and understand your place in it all. Step into the southern Ontario cabin of a former slave. Celebrate those of all races who risked it all for freedom.

Why you should visit
  • Wander grassroots museums dedicated to telling individual stories.
  • Read out loud from "Uncle Tom’s Cabin", that commemorates the life of Rev. Josiah Henson who contributed to the abolition movement and the Underground Railroad.
  • Savour an “Erie soul” themed dinner.
  • At night, look for the North Star high above Lake Erie; get an idea of how they depended on it for guidance.
  • Visit other Ontario Black History sites like the Tower of Freedom monument and the Grey Roots museum to help round out the history.

Weather

Visitor information
When to go
  • Sites are open year round but consider a visit during February (Black History Month) when additional programming is usually scheduled.
Need to know

It is possible to do a self-guided tour of the underground railroad sites.

Getting Here