Underground Freedom Train: Toronto group remembers day slavery ended with symbolic subway ride
Trip from Union Station to Downsview commemorates Emancipation Day for British Empire in 1834
It might look like just a subway train in a subway station, but when you board the Underground Freedom Train it will be like no ride you've ever taken.
At 11:30 tonight at Union Station, if you follow the sound of drumming, it will bring you to the northbound platform of the subway, just in time for a trip designed to commemorate the end of slavery in the British Empire on Aug. 1, 1834.
"We wanted to look at something a little more innovative beyond, let's say, the formality of emancipation. What would inspire young people," said Itah Sadu, the organizer of the event.
Sadu said she wanted to solidify the link between Caribbean Carnival and Emancipation Day, highlighting the importance of both during the festival weekend.
"It gave us an opportunity of bringing Caribbean peoples together as well as that long tradition in history of African Canadians."
Black lives matter, Emancipation Day, the same thing, organizer says
Now in its fourth year, Sadu says the Underground Freedom Train is picking up steam with more and more people, from tourists to members of Toronto's black community, participating in the event. And with the conversation surrounding Black Lives Matter top of mind, Sadu says she thinks this year will be particularly important.
"Emancipation Day is probably the first statement that black lives matter," said Sadu. "So I see Emancipation Day and Black Lives Matter almost interchangeable in language."
Sadu said the event gives people a moment to reflect and congregate to talk about the role of the black community.
"There are moments on the train where you say, 'Wow,'" said Sadu."There's going to be a union at Union."
If you want to go
The Underground Freedom Train Ride leaves Union Station at 11:30 p.m. Sunday, with non-stop service to Downsview Station.
Participants should head to the Union Station ticket booth for 10:45 p.m. where volunteers will meet them and direct them to the right platform.
The ride ends at midnight, marking the official start of Emancipation Day.