The Government of Canada Recognizes the National Historic Importance of Amherstburg First Baptist Church

News Release

October 14, 2017                        Amherstburg, Ontario                      Parks Canada Agency


Canada’s national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas enable Canadians to experience their rich and varied history in a special way. As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017, the Government of Canada invites Canadians to experience nature and learn more about our history.

Parks Canada and the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada today commemorated the importance of Amherstburg First Baptist Church, as a place of national historic significance. A special ceremony was held in Amherstburg, Ontario, with members of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Amherstburg First Baptist Church, and the Town of Amherstburg.

The Government of Canada is committed to connecting Canadians to the significant people, places, and events that contributed to our country’s diverse heritage. Built in the late 1840s, at a terminus of the Underground Railroad near the United States border, Amherstburg First Baptist Church offered sanctuary to African Americans fleeing slavery and helped foster a distinctive Black Baptist tradition in Ontario. Built under the leadership of Pastor Anthony Binga Sr., this church was the Mother Church of the Amherstburg Regular Missionary Baptist Association which played a crucial role in the development of Black communities and identity in Upper Canada.

National historic sites represent thousands of years of human history and hundreds of years of nation building. These are places of profound importance to Canada as they bear witness to this nation's defining moments and illustrate its human creativity and cultural traditions. Each national historic site tells its own unique story, part of the greater story of Canada, contributing a sense of time, identity, and place to our understanding of Canada as a whole.

This year also marks the centennial of national historic sites and Parks Canada invites Canadians to discover and be inspired by the stories of the people, places, and events that shaped the Canada of today. We encourage you to learn more about our country’s history, and discover truly Canadian places and stories with Parks Canada.

Quotes

“The Government of Canada is very pleased to commemorate Amherstburg First Baptist Church as a place of national historic significance. This church was a spiritual home for thousands of Black Baptists, and it helped foster a distinctive Black Baptist tradition in Ontario. As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation, I encourage all Canadians to take this opportunity to learn more about this great place and its important role in our country’s history.”


The Honourable Catherine McKenna
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

Quick Facts

  • The Amherstburg First Baptist Church was built in 1848-49, and was the Mother Church of the Amherstburg Regular Missionary Baptist Association. Through this organization, people of African descent could pursue their ambitions, develop their talents, and assume positions of leadership at a time when they were denied these opportunities elsewhere. 

  • The architecture of Amherstburg First Baptist Church embodied the notion that the preacher, and “the Word” he preached, were of central importance. The church was constructed so that the entire congregation could hear and see the preacher.

  • Created in 1919, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada advises the Minister of Environment and Climate Change regarding the national historic significance of places, people, and events that have marked Canada’s history.

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Contacts

Brett Levitt
Communications Officer, Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada Program
Southwestern Ontario Field Unit
Parks Canada Agency
brett.levitt@pc.gc.ca
289-969-3279

Media Relations
Parks Canada Agency
855-862-1812
pc.media@pc.gc.ca

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