Canada and Ontario invest to preserve Black history landmark in Hamilton

Published on December 11, 2020

News Release

HAMILTON—The safety and well-being of Canadians are top priorities for the governments of Canada and Ontario. Investments in public infrastructure during this extraordinary time provide an opportunity to create jobs and economic growth, make our communities more sustainable and resilient in the face of climate change, and to build more inclusive, equitable public spaces.

Today, the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Labour and Member of Parliament for Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas, on behalf of the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities; Donna Skelly, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade and Member of Provincial Parliament for Flamborough-Glanbrook, on behalf of the Honourable Laurie Scott, Ontario's Minister of Infrastructure; and His Worship Fred Eisenberger, Mayor of the City of Hamilton, announced funding for the restoration of the Griffin House National Historic Site.

These upgrades to an important cultural and historical landmark of Black settlement in Upper Canada will improve accessibility for all visitors, while restoring the heritage features of the house built in 1827. Griffin House was owned by Enerals Griffin, a Black immigrant from Virginia who was likely born a slave but settled as a free man in Canada in 1834. The home remained in his family for 154 years.

The Government of Canada is investing $399,960 in this project through the Community, Culture and Recreation Infrastructure Stream (CCRIS) of the Investing in Canada plan. The Government of Ontario is providing $333,267, while the City of Hamilton is contributing $266,673.

The project will restore the interior structure and finishes, as well as the major components of the building's exterior, including the foundation, siding, windows, roof and chimney. Additional improvements to the pathways and the installation of porch ramps will make the building accessible to all visitors. Designated a national historic site in 2008, Griffin House is associated with Black settlement in British North America during the first half of the 19th century.  

All orders of government continue to work together for the people of Ontario to make strategic infrastructure investments in communities across the province when they need it the most.


Quick Facts

  • Through the Investing in Canada plan, the federal government is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.
  • Across Ontario, the Government of Canada has invested more than $8 billion in over 2,700 infrastructure projects.
  • Across the province and over the next ten years, Ontario is investing approximately $320 million and Canada is investing approximately $407 million under the Community, Culture and Recreation Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. This stream supports the construction of new facilities and upgrades to existing facilities that improve community infrastructure (community centres, and libraries), and support upgrades to recreational venues (arenas, and both indoor and outdoor recreational spaces) and cultural spaces (theatres, museums).
  • Ontario is investing $10.2 billion under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program to improve public transit; community, culture and recreation; green, and rural and northern community and other priority infrastructure.

Quotes

"Hamilton’s many Black communities have long and rich histories. Black people have made fundamental contributions to our city’s economic, political, cultural and social life. The restoration of the Griffin House National Historic Site will help raise awareness and appreciation of Canada’s diverse Black history for many years to come. Canada’s infrastructure plan invests in thousands of projects, creates jobs across the country, and builds cleaner, more inclusive communities."

- The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Labour and Member of Parliament for Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas
on behalf of the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

"Given the significance of the Griffin House to Canadian Black History and the early years of the Underground Railroad, I’m thrilled to see that investments are being made to preserve this historic site. The Griffin House has stood in Ancaster for more than 150 years, and with Ontario’s over $330,000 contribution more families and tourists will be able to visit the museum and continue to learn about Ontario’s Black History for generations to come."

- Donna Skelly, Member of Provincial Parliament for Flamborough-Glanbrook and Parliamentary Assistant for Job Creation and Trade
on behalf of the Honourable Laurie Scott, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure

"Restoring Enerals Griffin’s early-19th-century home speaks to our collective commitment to sharing and celebrating our community’s diverse Black history. This investment in Griffin House National Historic Site will see generations of residents and visitors alike continue to gain a deeper understanding of early 1800’s Black settlement in Hamilton. I would like to thank our federal and provincial partners for their investment in this National Historic Site and preserving an integral part of our city’s heritage."

- Fred Eisenberger
Mayor of the City of Hamilton


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