Niagara’s Freedom Trail, a collection of plaques and monuments, retells the struggle of individuals looking for freedom within Ontario and the rest of Canada.
Niagara’s Freedom Trail
To gain a full sense of the Freedom Trail and Canada’s part in the Underground Railroad, Niagara Falls is only a piece of the puzzle, albeit a very important piece by to Niagara’s proximity to the US/Canadian border. The full Freedom Trail extends along the Niagara River – from the Buffalo/Fort Erie border crossing, to the town of Niagara Falls itself, to the tributes to local African-Canadian communities in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
There are protected landmarks in Niagara Falls that recall the history of this humanitarian effort. The Nathaniel Dett Memorial Chapel British Methodist Episcopal Church was built by former slaves in 1836 and is designated as a national historical site. The library next door hosts a detailed genealogical database on known escapees to Canada. There’s also the nearby Whirlpool Bridge, once designated as the ‘Freedom Crossing’. It was a major route from the 1840s onwards and was modified to allow train traffic in 1855.
Throughout the Niagara Region
These sites in Niagara Falls are within close distance to our hotel and are certainly worth a visit, providing an illuminating view on the Freedom Trail and its impact on the Niagara Region. There are also other sites up and down the liver – Bertie Hall, in Fort Erie, or the remains of the Calvinistic Baptist Church along the Niagara Parkway in Niagara-on-the-Lake. When discussing a period of time in which documentation was too risky to keep, these sites and the oral history of those who still maintain these landmarks is an important part of history preservation.