Find out more about black Canadians who contributed to the building of Canada and who are making their mark every day.

From our archives

Danger, hardship, heroism and tragedy. All are features of black immigration to Canada in the nineteenth century.

The story of black immigration to Canada began 400 years ago with the arrival of the French at Port Royal. John Graves Simcoe, the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, signed the Act Against Slavery in 1793.

Many black people came to Canada by their own means. But the Underground Railroad, an informal network of people and places organized to help black people escaping slavery, was an important feature of immigration to Canada in the nineteenth century.

It’s estimated that between 20,000 and 40,000 black people arrived in Canada during the first half of the nineteenth century. Some consider that the number could be as high as 60,000.

Radio Canada International has produced a series of vignettes spotlighting some of the black Canadians that have marked the country’s past, as well as those that are marking Canada’s present.

Researchers: Nataly Laguë, Audrey Flat

Editors: Suzanne Shugar, Audrey Flat

Translator: Nataly Laguë

Sound recording, sound effects, sound mixing: Angela Leblanc

Producer; casting, music selection: Suzanne Shugar

Executive Producer: Raymond Desmarteau

A Radio Canada International production

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