Town Council declares August Civic Holiday as ‘Emancipation Day’

Tue, 30 Jun 2015

At last night’s meeting, Town Council endorsed the first Monday in August, which is the Civic Holiday, to be named Emancipation Day in honour of Oakville’s African Canadian heritage and to celebrate freedom.

“Oakville played an important part in the Underground Railroad,” Mayor Rob Burton said. “We are very proud of Oakville’s role in the abolishment of slavery and our community's devotion and commitment to helping African Canadians on their journey to freedom.”

The motion, moved by Councillor Pam Damoff and seconded by Councillor Allan Elgar, received unanimous support from Town Council.

Oakville annually celebrates Emancipation Day to commemorate August 1, 1834, the day slavery was abolished in Canada and throughout the British Empire. Oakville’s Emancipation Day Picnic dates back to 1850, when African Canadians from across the nation would gather at George’s Square in honour of their journey to freedom.

Residents can take part in this year’s Emancipation Day Family Picnic festivities on Monday, August 3, on the grounds of the Erchless Estate, starting at 1 p.m. This free afternoon of music, dance, games, crafts and activities celebrates Oakville’s role in the Underground Railroad as port of entry.

Visit the Oakville Museum's Programs and Events page for more information.

Media contact:

Lesley Patel
Communications Advisor
Office of the Mayor and Council
Town of Oakville
905-845-6601, ext. 3788
lesley.patel@oakville.ca