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TTC hosts Underground Freedom Train Ride,
July 31

Tonight, Monday, July 31, the TTC is hosting more than 1,000 people during the fifth annual midnight Underground Freedom Train Ride. The event commemorates Emancipation Day in Ontario, August 1, and symbolizes the role of the Underground Railroad in Canadian history.

According to CityNews, “In 2008, the province designated Aug. 1 as Emancipation Day, marking the end of slavery in the British Empire in the mid-19th century…

“The Ontario legislature passed [a] private members’ bill, which was moved by PC MPP Ted Arnott and former Liberal MPP Maria Van Bommel.

“‘Today, we commemorate the anniversary of the enactment of the British Imperial Act, known as Emancipation Day… The British Parliament voted in 1834 to abolish slavery in most of the British Empire,’ Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown said in a statement [last year].

“‘The passage of the British Imperial Act made Ontario a beacon of freedom and hope, and launched the Underground Railroad, from which escaping slaves found their way to Ontario, and freedom.’”

A Different Booklist bookstore is again presenting this year’s event. Celebrations include singing, poetry readings, drum-playing and remarks by the African Canadian Heritage Association. Mayor John Tory and TTC Chair Josh Colle are joining the ride.

“Emancipation Day gives us an opportunity to explore and celebrate the rich African-Canadian history that has helped build our city. It is also a day to recognize their struggle for human rights,” Mayor Tory said. “The Underground Freedom Train Ride allows Canadians of all backgrounds to learn about the incredible history of our African Canadians as builders, advocates, and people who defended Canada in many challenging times and who lead in so many ways. Knowing more about this distinguished history of achievement helps all of us to better understand who we are as Canadians.”

“The TTC is proud to support the Underground Freedom Train Ride to help commemorate Emancipation Day,” Chair Colle said. “The annual event on the TTC is an important celebration for our city, and a subway ride that is not to be missed.”

To take part, meet at Union Station. The train leaves Union at about 10:40 p.m. It arrives at Sheppard West Station at about 12:02 a.m.

The large festive gathering is open to the public.