Emancipation Month recognizes the struggle for human rights and the rich contributions made by people of African descent. Recognizing Emancipation Month in August acknowledges an abhorrent period in our history and our ongoing commitment to eliminate discrimination in all forms.

John Tory Mayor of Toronto - Proclamation

Emancipation Month

August 2020

WHEREAS Emancipation Month recognizes the struggle for human rights made by freedom-seeking Canadians of African descent. The month is an opportunity to acknowledge the legacy and history of slavery in Canada while celebrating the rich contributions that people of African descent have made to our city and country.

By recognizing Emancipation Day on August 1 and Emancipation Month during August, we acknowledge an unforgiving period within our history and the importance of our ongoing commitment to eliminate discrimination in all its forms. The month of August marks many significant milestones in the struggles and successes faced by people of African descent on a journey that led to the abolition of slavery.

For over 400 years, more than 15 million men, women, and children of African descent were the victims of the transatlantic slave trade – one of history’s darkest chapters. The enslavement of African people occurred on these lands until 1834.  We also recognize that there are legacies of slavery that continue to impact the lives of people of African descent around the world and in our own City, that we need to collectively address.

The campaign to abolish the slave trade began when Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe legally restricted the cross-border trading of slaves in Upper Canada, achieved through the passage for the Act to Limit Slavery in Upper Canada, on July 9, 1793. All slavery was formally abolished within British colonies under the Slavery Abolition Act on August 28, 1833.

Toronto City Council and the people of Toronto are working hard to establish a caring and compassionate society in which all its members, regardless of race or ethnic origin, have the right to live in conditions of good health, safety, dignity, respect and peace.

NOW THEREFORE, I, Mayor John Tory, on behalf of Toronto City Council, do hereby proclaim August 2020 as “Emancipation Month” in the City of Toronto.