Lecture 5 – Canada’s Diasporic History II
Slavery in Canada
There are still problems that stand in our way. Some discussions have brought up like we tend to
project racism backwards. A big part of this is how slavery is looked at and not looked at. We are
the ends of the Underground Railroad when the States still had slavery. However, this is a very
dishonest way of handling things because there were several thousand slaves in Canada and were
In 1688, when widows and orphans helped populate the colony, there were still not enough people
to colonize the land. The king agreed to black slavery and black slaves started to come into New
o There were actually also aboriginal Canadians that were captured and enslaved.
Montreal had the greatest slavery in Canada. It never became law but was applied to the
government of New France. Slaves were moveable property, livestock and were baptized as
Catholics. Law pass in 1709, which made it a crime for slaves to run away.
o People across the spectrum of society all had slaves.
o Slaves tended to die very young because of the harsh conditions. Aboriginal slaves died
when they are 17 and half years old, while the black slaves died when they were 25.
In 1790, the Imperial Act permitted the introduction of slaves coming to Canada with the loyalists.
They worked on new roads, farms, domestic servants, etc.
Slavery came to an end in 1834. Free blacks in Canada formed communities in Africville, Halifax,
St John, and the east because of the hostility by the whites.
o A 29-year-old female black slave burnt Old Montreal. There was no proof that she
actually burned old Montreal, but the torture that she was put into was so cruel that any
sane person would admit they have done it.
Over the years, the residence of Africville had no say about what happened to their community.
There was no sewage, water, electricity put in. The city of Halifax built institutions that no one
else wanted in any part of Halifax. These institutions includ