Mississauga and Queen Street Garden

In commemorating the 225th Anniversary of the Chloe Cooley incident and the Act to Limit Slavery, passed July 9th, 1793, the Adinkra Symbol Epa, “handcuffs”, is displayed in the garden at the end of Mississauga and Queen Street. This is a symbol of law and justice, slavery and captivity.

On March 14, 1793, Queenston farmer William Vrooman bound and forcibly transported one of his young slaves, Chloe Cooley, across the Niagara River. A week after, Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe and the Executive Council, heard eyewitness accounts which stated that Chloe was taken against her will and was violently screaming and resisting the transfer across the river. This incident served as the catalyst for the passing of the Act to Limit Slavery in Upper Canada on July 9th, 1793. Niagara-on-the-Lake is the site where the first anti-slavery legislation was introduced in the British Empire. This far pre-dated the abolishment of slavery in the rest of the British Empire (1833) and America (1865). The Act did not free existing slaves; however, it forbade the importation of new slaves, granted freedom to the children born from slaves upon twenty-five years of age and the children of these newly freed slaves would also be free. It allowed for the gradual abolition of slavery and set the stage for the beginnings of the Underground Railroad.

Written by the Niagara Historical Society & Museum.