Halifax is a pretty and colorful city that I got to explore briefly over two days. Thanks to a half-day Your Cab minibus tour guided by Jonathan Duru, a first generation African-Canadian from Ghana, I got an in-depth insight into the communities from the past to the present.
In the shadow of the MacKay suspension bridge, we trod through Seaview Memorial Park off Barrington Road, where a memorial cairn stands in remembrance of the displaced settlers of Africville. What was in 1840 a community teeming with farmers, skilled laborers, and families on the coveted harbor lands, was turned into a rail yard and city garbage dump until residents were forcibly relocated in the 1960s. If your ancestors started out here, your relatives would have ended up in the tenements of northern Halifax.
The faces of former Africville residents can be glimpsed in a dedicated section of the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia (BCC) in its sister city of Dartmouth. The BCC is purposely located at the corner of Cherry Brook Road, gateway to the 80-percent Afro-Canadian Cherry Brook community (Black communities are almost unheard of elsewhere in Canada). Names you’ll find in this community are Clayton, Gough, Sparks, Johnson and Bundy.
If your family search reveals that you have distant relatives on the peninsula’s northern tip in Pictou County, 2010 is the year to come meet them. The New Glasgow Homecoming Committee holds a weeklong family and town reunion every five years in the community-built Africentric Heritage Park where a pyramid structure composed of stones gathered from Africa, Europe, the U.S. and Canada, represents the different paths the people took to get here.
People with Barbadian origins will come closer to their roots by heading towards the eastern-most end of the province, Cape Breton. The Cape Breton Miners Museum commemorates the West Indians who came to Glace Bay to work in the coal mines and steel mills.