Ontario Heritage Trust celebrates Heritage Week 2008 in Hamilton

    HAMILTON, ON, Feb. 15 /CNW/ - Today, the Ontario Heritage Trust and the
City of Hamilton celebrated Heritage Week 2008 at the Scottish Rite Club of
Hamilton. As part of this event, the Trust unveiled a provincial plaque to
commemorate The Early Black Community in Hamilton. The plaque was unveiled by
The Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander, Chairman of the Ontario Heritage Trust,
The Honourable Aileen Carroll, Ontario Minister of Culture, and The Honourable
Michael Chan, Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.
    The theme for Heritage Week 2008 - "Engaging citizens in community
conservation" - provides an opportunity to showcase conservation success
stories and to demonstrate the resources available to people involved in the
important work of heritage conservation in communities across Ontario. These
Heritage Week celebrations will also include volunteer recognition awards and
a Heritage Expo of displays from community heritage and historical groups.
    "Ontario Heritage Week is an important time for us to gather and
celebrate our tremendous heritage achievements and the rich and diverse
communities that comprise this province," said Mr. Alexander. "The added
honour of unveiling this provincial plaque enriches today's celebrations."
    "For hundreds of years, black Ontarians have contributed to the social,
cultural and economic fabric of our province," said Minister Chan. "In a
province that prides itself on its diversity, these plaques help to share this
little known part of our history."
    In the early 1800s, Hamilton was an important stop on the Underground
Railroad for African Americans seeking freedom from slavery and oppression. By
the 1830s, two distinct enclaves of black settlement developed in Hamilton.
Members of the early black community farmed and worked in a variety of trades
and professions. Achievements throughout this time included the fight against
segregated schools and joining the fight to defend black freedom in Canada
during the Rebellion of 1837. Many other blacks contributed significantly to
their city and paved the way for future black settlement and achievement.
    "Heritage Week gives us an opportunity to explore Ontario's history and
celebrate the people and events that have shaped our society," said Minister
Carroll. "This plaque is a great way to honour the contributions of Hamilton's
early black community and share their stories with visitors to this area."
    This unveiling is part of the Trust's Provincial Plaque Program that
commemorates significant people, places and events in Ontario's history. Since
1953, over 1,200 provincial plaques have been unveiled.
    This plaque was developed with funding support from the Ontario Ministry
of Citizenship and Immigration as well as TD Bank Financial Group.

    The Ontario Heritage Trust is an agency of the Government of Ontario,
dedicated to identifying, preserving, protecting and promoting Ontario's

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For further information:

For further information: Gordon Pim, Marketing and Communications
Coordinator, Ontario Heritage Trust, Telephone: (416) 325-1484, E-mail:

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