I'm here in Amherstburg at the North American Black Historical Museum. This community is steeped in a very rich history. You know, it was one of the busiest places, one of the busiest crossing points, for the Underground Railroad where slaves were fleeing the US in the 19th century.

This museum tells the story of people who swam across the river following the North Star to freedom. They came along back roads, through swamps, forests, fields, risking everything to be free.

Canada's first Black militia the Coloured Corps fought for us in the war of 1812, and I'm sure they're going to be honoured at the bi-centennial next year.

It is very moving to be here.

It's humbling to walk in the footsteps of those who went before.

It's important to remember and share their stories of hope and courage because it helps us stand firmly today and see clearly where we have to go.

This February is Black History Month, so I'm going to invite you to explore communities with strong African-Canadian ties.

I'm talking about Ontario communities like Dresden, North Buxton, Owen Sound and here at Amherstburg.

Find the time to participate in cultural activities in your own community.

Black History is, after all, Ontario history. It's our history. So let's remember and celebrate our strength, our diversity, and our triumph.

Let's treasure our North Star to freedom.

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