Oakville Museum hosts Emancipation Day Family Picnic at Erchless Estate

A celebration of history, courage and freedom on August 4

2 dancer in 18 century dress
Oakville Museum hosts Emancipation Day Family Picnic at Erchless Estate
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Gisele Shaw

Gisele Shaw

Gisele Shaw is the Manager of Corporate Communication for the town of Oakville since 2002. Prior to working for the town she worked for Halton Region as a communications specialist. She is a graduate of Humber College.

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The Oakville Museum, in partnership with the Canadian Caribbean Association of Halton, invites everyone to celebrate a significant achievement in Canadian history at the annual Emancipation Day Family Picnic on the grounds of Erchless Estate on Monday, August 4, from 1 to 4 p.m.

The special annual event commemorates August 1, 1834 — the day slavery was abolished in Canada and throughout the British Empire. The Emancipation Day picnic dates back to 1850, when African Canadians from across the nation would gather at Oakville’s George’s Square to honour their journey to freedom.

“The port of Oakville was a gateway to freedom via the Underground Railroad,” said Mayor Rob Burton. “This annual event is a welcomed opportunity to celebrate our town’s rich history.”

The free afternoon will feature music, dance, games, crafts and activities highlighting Oakville’s role in the Underground Railroad as a port of entry to Canada.

Everyone is encouraged to bring a lawn chair and pack a picnic lunch or purchase delicious Caribbean food from Jerk + Ting. Enjoy lakeside performances by Tsingory Dance, the Hope Gospel Choir, Drums et al, and singer Geraldine DeFoe. Bring a drum and be part of the drum circle!

Join the Black History Bike Tour!

On the morning of the picnic, Cycle Oakville, Halton Environmental Network, Ecopartners and Whole Foods Market (Oakville) are hosting a Black History Bike Tour for individuals and families who are interested in a leisurely tour of historic sites that help tell the story of Oakville’s role in the Underground Railroad.

A 10-stop guided tour will begin at 10 a.m. at Taste of Colombia on Bronte Road. A shorter family bike tour will begin at Whole Foods Market on Cornwall Road at 10:45 a.m. and will feature a kids’ ride and face painting. Both tour groups will combine at Whole Foods for a barbecue lunch, then continue touring the remaining historic sites before reaching the final stop at the Emancipation Picnic.

Participants will also be able to tour the Underground Railroad Exhibition at Erchless Estate. For more information, and an overview of Oakville’s Black History Bike Tour, visit cycleoakville.ca.

The Oakville Museum at Erchless Estate is located at 8 Navy Street in downtown Oakville and is easily accessible by foot, bike or public transit.

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