Latlng: (44.419314, -79.578352)

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Shanty Bay- Underground Railroad

Oro-Medonte, Ontario

Location Owner clay70
Creation Date Apr 05 2010
Status Active
Category Ghost Town
Location Oro-Medonte, Ontario
Site number #1350

This village is not a ghost town per se, but has many ghosts from its historic past. The establishment of Shanty Bay was strongly influenced by the Underground Railroad. Many African-American refugees first settled near the water in shanties (small homes), contributing toward the name of the village. Lucius Richard O(a)Brien (1832-1899), the noted Canadian oil and watercolour landscape painter was from Shanty Bay. His father founded the village. Shanty Bay also has one of Canada(a)s oldest surviving churches, St. Thomas Anglican Church, built between 1838 and 1841 and dedicated in 1842. It has an historical marker. <u>Shanty Bay(a)s Underground Railroad History</u>- In the mid-1800(a)s the Underground Railroad had escaped slaves from the southern USA make there way into Simcoe County. The government set aside a tract of land in Oro Township for the fugitives. 150 African Americans were given farms on the 2nd line called Wilberforce Street. It was named after the British champion for the freedom of slaves. This occurred between 1819-1831. Oro was intended to settle Black Loyalist refugees after the War of 1812. Black veterans who could be mustered to meet hostile forces coming from Georgian Bay were offered land grants. Among them were veterans of Captain Runchey(a)s Company for Coloured Men, which fought at Stoney Creek, Queenston Heights, Lundy(a)s Lane and St. Davids. Oro settlers also included free persons and the formerly enslaved. Some of the black families did not take to farming the poor soil here and drifted to nearby towns. Many ended up at Shanty Bay, NE of Barrie on Lake Simcoe. Here they built small wooden cottages ("shanty(a)s") near the lake. The area from Lake Simcoe went north for 3 concessions from Shanty Bay along the 2nd Line and the 1st line called Wilberforce Street. Oro Township got its name from a the Spanish name of the Gold Coast of Ghana in Africa, where many of the enslaved were taken from. The Oro African Methodist Church near Edgar served the blacks. Flos Township(a)s first settlers were 2 African American brothers, William and Ben Davenport, who took land south of Hillsdale in 1821. One of the chief Canadian agitators against the American slave trade was Captain Charles Stuart. He retired in 1850 to a farm near Thornbury, after helping many runaway slaves. His home was at Lora Bay on Georgian Bay where he refused to allow any usage of products made by slave labour. For a deeper insight into this forgtten chapter of Oro(a)s history:

Latlng: (44.419314, -79.578352)


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