Uncle Tom's Cabin Historic Site - Ontario Heritage Trust

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Due to COVID-19, Uncle Tom's Cabin Historic Site is closed. We are creating new digital programming of our museum exhibits and capturing our story, which you can find by exploring here. Please contact us by email at utchs@heritagetrust.on.ca for any inquiries.

The Atlantic slave trade and the ensuing enslavement of millions of people of African descent led to a long history of resistance that resulted in the development of thriving Black communities in Ontario. With abolitionist and Person of National Historic Significance Josiah Henson’s life as a backdrop, we’ve captured inspiring stories that speak to the early African-Canadian experience in Ontario.


Featured video

Beyond the Underground Railroad – Black History in Chatham-Kent 

This virtual forum features the curators from Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site, Buxton National Historic Site and Museum and the Chatham-Kent Black Mecca Museum in conversation with creators and researchers from across the province. Discussion spotlights successes of museums and communities across the province in bringing Black stories and achievements to the forefront.



Exhibit snapshots

Curator Steven Cook and Programs Assistant Jackie Bernard introduce you to the gallery spaces and structures on the grounds of the two-hectare (five-acre) Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site property.

The British American Institute video
The Josiah Henson House video
The British American Institute. For 10 years, the British American Institute provided education and manual-labour training to Underground Railroad refugees in the Dresden area. Learn more about the role of this school.The Josiah Henson House. Remarkably, the Josiah Henson House has been moved three times since it was built in the mid-19th century. Learn more about why the house is so well travelled!

Emancipation Day 2020

Each August Civic Holiday weekend, Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site celebrates Emancipation Day with various speakers, performers, exhibits and cuisine that reflect the Black cultural experience in Ontario. Explore the 2020 virtual Emancipation Day celebration.

Emancipation Day 2020 video: Preston Chase
Emancipation Day 2020 video: Emma Ferreira
Emancipation Day 2020 video: The Grineage Family
Preston Chase. Mr. Emancipation is a short documentary about Walter Perry – the man who created Windsor’s Emancipation Day celebration in 1931. We speak with the film’s director, Preston Chase.Emma Ferreira. Listen to Emma Ferreira – a Dominican-Canadian artist, actor and poet – deliver her original Emancipation Day poem.The Grineage Family. Enjoy this interview and performance by Briar, Jaedin, Reighen, Teiren and Dahsin Grineage – a musically gifted family with roots that go back to the Underground Railroad.
Emancipation Day 2020: Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard
Emancipation Day 2020 video: Natasha Henry
Emancipation Day 2020 video: Heritage Singers Canada
Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard. Senator Bernard discusses her work to have Emancipation Day federally recognized in Canada.Natasha Henry. The president of the Ontario Black History Society talks about the importance of commemorating Emancipation Day.Heritage Singers Canada. Members of this Caribbean folk group share pre-recorded musical numbers performed in Toronto.

Ontario’s Black heritage

Since the first recorded arrival of a Black person in Canada in 1608, people of African descent have made lasting and continuing contributions to the development of Canada and the Canadian identity. We celebrate their roles in the building of this nation.

Interview with Jared Brock video
Josiah documentary (TVO)
Jared Brock. In 2020, we celebrated Canada Day by interviewing author/director Jared Brock. Steven Cook, Site Manager of Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site, speaks with Brock about his book The Road to Dawn and his recent documentary, Josiah.Josiah. Watch Jared Brock’s documentary, Josiah, here.


Views expressed are those of the interviewees/performers and do not necessarily reflect those of the Ontario Heritage Trust.