Black Settlement in Oro Township - Ontario Heritage Trust

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Black Settlement in Oro Township

The only government-sponsored Black settlement in Upper Canada, the Oro community was established in 1819 to help secure the defence of the province's northern frontier. Black veterans of the War of 1812 who could be enlisted to meet hostile forces advancing from Georgian Bay were offered land grants here. By 1831, nine had taken up residence along this road, called Wilberforce Street after the renowned British abolitionist. Bolstered by other Black settlers who had been attracted to the area, the community soon numbered about 100. The settlement eventually declined, however, as farmers discouraged by the poor soil and harsh climate gradually drifted away. Today only the African Episcopal church erected near Edgar in 1849 remains as a testament to this early Black community.

Location

On 1 Line South at the Oro-Medonte Rail Trail

Region: Central Ontario

County/District: County of Simcoe

Municipality: Township of Oro-Medonte

Themes