Provincial plaque commemorates The Catholic Colored Mission of Windsor, 1887-1893

WINDSOR, ON, Aug. 19, 2015 /CNW/ - Today, the Ontario Heritage Trust in partnership with St. Alphonsus Roman Catholic Church and the Windsor Emancipation Celebration Corporation unveiled a provincial plaque to commemorate The Catholic Colored Mission of Windsor.

The unveiling took place at St. Alphonsus Roman Catholic Church in Windsor, Ontario.

The English plaque reads as follows:



The first Roman Catholic mission for Blacks in Canada was established in Windsor in St. Alphonsus Parish in 1887 under the leadership of the Very Reverend Dean James Theodore Wagner. The "Catholic Colored Mission of Windsor" was created to serve disadvantaged Black children, while encouraging Blacks in Windsor to adopt the Catholic faith. It was first located in the original frame church building at Goyeau Street and Park Street East. With the support and partnership of the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph (RHSJ), a new mission school and orphanage was built next to the Hôtel-Dieu Hospital near Erie Street. The sisters of the RHSJ were responsible for the management of the mission. Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary taught at the school. The mission educated and cared for vulnerable children of all races. The school and orphanage was an important initiative that provided access to education and child welfare at a time before government-funded social services were available.



"The Trust is pleased to commemorate this late 19th century institution that was established to give disadvantaged Black children access to education and care. The mission's commitment to serve vulnerable children in the Black community came during an era of racial discrimination. This provincial plaque will serve as a reminder of the Mission's pioneering work in the community and its passion for racial justice."

Thomas H.B. Symons, Chairman, Ontario Heritage Trust

"The Catholic Colored Mission of Windsor was the first of its kind in Canada. Addressing issues of education, child welfare and social justice, it made a significant impact on the community and in the lives of the children in its care. I'm proud that our government is recognizing its important place in Ontario's history."

– The Honourable Michael Coteau, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport

"We are honored that the Trust has chosen to unveil a provincial plaque to the first Roman Catholic mission for Blacks in Canada. Reverend Wagner had a deep understanding of the issues faced by the Black community in Windsor and was passionate about elevating their position in society. Now, over 120 years later, he would be amazed to see the impact the Mission has had on the community and in the province."

Daphne Clarke, St. Alphonsus Roman Catholic Church


  • The plaque will be permanently displayed at St. Alphonsus Roman Catholic Church.
  • The Ontario Heritage Trust's Provincial Plaque Program commemorates provincially significant people, places and events in Ontario's history.
  • Since 1956, over 1,250 provincial plaques have been unveiled.



Find out more about the Ontario Heritage Trust and explore the Provincial Plaque Program.


For more information about the Ontario Heritage Trust and the Provincial Plaque Program, contact Rose Windy Manigat at 416-325-5032 or

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

Aussi disponible en français

SOURCE Ontario Heritage Trust

For further information: Rose Windy Manigat at 416-325-5032 or


Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890