More than 150 years ago, the community of Canfield welcomed slaves fleeing the United States through the Underground Railroad, providing a safe haven and freedom. The event was commemorated last month with the installation of a memorial marker, jointly sponsored by the Canfield Community Centre and Heritage Haldimand.
The Underground Railroad was a secret network organized by people who helped men; women and children escape from slavery to freedom. It operated before the Civil War (1861-1865) ended slavery in the United States. Black settlers first started coming to Canfield in 1837, with 137 black residents identified in the North Cayuga census by 1851.
Starting with a grant of $4,000, Heritage Haldimand and the Canfield Community Centre raised more than $6,000 to complete the project which generated great interest within the black communities around Niagara, Hamilton, Windsor and the U.S. The Stewart Memorial Church choir from Hamilton performed at the unveiling.