Canada's NDP


May 6th, 2022

MP Mathyssen's Statement regarding London's Fugitive Slave Chapel

Madam Speaker, I am proud to rise today in the House to tell members about an incredible living history museum in my riding, Fanshawe Pioneer Village, and its project to preserve and restore London's Fugitive Slave Chapel. The slave chapel, built in 1848, served as a place of gathering and worship for London's Black community until 1868, and was one of the terminus points on the Underground Railroad.

The chapel was gifted to Fanshawe Pioneer Village to ensure it is protected and promoted properly. It is not only important to London's Black history but also to Canadian history. The preservation of this influential building at Fanshawe Pioneer Village will ensure that it is showcased, respected and honoured now. It offers a unique educational experience to future generations.

The village has received much community support from local groups but needs federal government support. As it stands, the building is at risk of further deterioration. If we do not act now, a key piece of London's history could be lost.

I have written to the Minister of Heritage requesting funding, and I now call upon this government to support this historic community treasure.