Thornton and Lucie Blackburn National Historic Persons

Thornton and Lucie Blackburn were designated as national historic persons in 1999.

Historical importance: Legendary escapees from enslavement who established first cab company in Toronto.

An artistic representation of two people standing in a historic cityscape
Artistic rendition of Lucie and Thornton BlackburnFootnote 1
© Quentin VerCetty, designed and curated by AstroSankofa Arts Initiatives


Commemorative plaque: 19 Sackville Street, Toronto, OntarioFootnote 2

Bronze commemorative plaque
Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada commemorative plaque for Thornton and Lucie Blackburn National Historic Persons, 2021.
© Parks Canada


Thornton and Lucie Blackburn

The Blackburns' determination to build free lives provides a window on the experience of many refugees in the Underground Railroad era. Having fled slavery in Kentucky, they were arrested in Detroit in 1833. Their capture sparked riots and in the confusion they managed to escape to Upper Canada. Here, the government twice defended them against extradition, and by 1834 the couple had settled in Toronto. Respected citizens, they established the city's first cab company, worked for Abolition and contributed to the well-being of their community.

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
English plaque inscription





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