The August 3-5 long weekend marks Simcoe Day on Monday August 5th. My offices will be closed and re-open to serve you on Tuesday August 6th. Thank you for your understanding. – Bruce
Why is it called “Simcoe Day”?
While August 5th is a Civic Holiday all across Canada, it’s known in Ontario as Simcoe Day, in honour of John Graves Simcoe, Upper Canada’s first lieutenant governor and the man who initiated the abolition of slavery in Canada.
Simcoe was named as the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada from 1791 until 1796. Upper Canada at the time was southern Ontario and the watersheds of Georgian Bay and Lake Superior. He founded York (now Toronto) and was instrumental in introducing legal institutions such as courts of law, trial by jury and land ownership laws. He was also a strong opponent to slavery, at a time when it was still an accepted practice in the United States and many British Colonies.
Simcoe received word of a slave owner violently abusing his slave, a girl by the name of Chloe Clooey, on his way across the Niagara River where he went to sell her into the United States. It was said that her screams were heard by many and the matter was brought to Simcoe’s attention by Peter Martin, a former slave. He was moved by this incident to push for laws restricting the powers of slave owners. Simcoe’s anti-slavery act was the first to pass in a British colony and remained in effect until August 24, 1833, when Britain’s Slavery Abolition Act put an end to slavery in most of the empire.