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MPP Brian Saunderson salutes Black Heritage in Simcoe-Grey

MPP Brian Saunderson reflects on the heritage in Simcoe-Grey during Black History Month

This article has been provided by the office MPP Brian Saunderson.  

As we mark Black History Month in Simcoe-Grey, I can’t help but think about how our region has proudly embraced its heritage.

Our rich history is steeped in agriculture and manufacturing, in recreation and making its mark as a world class destination. Also, among the pillars of our rich history in Simcoe-Grey, are the countless contributions the black community has made and continues to make in Simcoe-Grey.

On that note, as Canadians from coast to coast-to-coast mark Black History Month in classrooms and workplaces across our great country, I would like to recognize the incredible hard work of Carolyn and Sylvia Wilson here at home.

Their official title is curator.

But the reality is, the Wilsons are much, much more. Together they are the heart and soul, the lifeblood and the passion that fuels and sustains a treasure in our region, that being the Sheffield Park Black History & Cultural Museum in Clarksburg.


As we are reminded by their terrific website, it was the dream of Howard Sheffield to gather and preserve the history of his ancestors and share with the family.  Community friends became interested in the history of the black pioneers and settlers of Simcoe-Grey. His collection of family photos and artifacts attracted donations of more items from white families who grew up with the original homesteaders. 

My wife, Susie, and I had a tour of the Black History and Cultural Museum with Carolyn and Sylvia. They were terrific hosts. We saw firsthand the incredible work they have done to preserve and promote the important story of Black history in our region. 


I also had the great privilege of awarding Carolyn and Sylvia, the Companion to the Order of Collingwood, the Town’s highest civic award, when I was Mayor to recognize their tireless work with the Black History and Cultural Museum and the Heritage Community Church of Collingwood.

Carolyn’s enthusiasm is a beacon and speaks to the labour of love that has gone into this project. Since 1990, the Museum has been a family endeavour, working closely to explore and expose the contributions and achievements of local Black men and women to the surrounding community, business world, military & marine service, and in the sports arena. 


As Carolyn told us, “When visitors experience our museum they come as guests and leave as friends. Our museum offers a unique experience of reality through lives lived as People of Colour. Many long-lasting relationships have been fostered from a visit to our Black history museum.

Visitors of all ages often comment that they gained a new perspective on Canadian history.”

The Museum illustrates community life, of whites and blacks co-existing from Africa to America, from slavery to freedom, from the past to the future. Their doors open for a new season in three short months. If you haven’t been, it’s absolutely worth the trip to Clarksburg. If you have dropped by, more stories await on your next visit.


Also, all this month, the Heritage Community Church at 310 Seventh Street, Collingwood is recognizing Black History with a series of displays. The theme is “Black Excellence.”

Visit the Sheffield Park Black History & Cultural Museum at 241 Clark St, Clarksburg, ON N0H 1J0.