Emancipation Day St. Catharines – music and picnic at Lakeside Park
The revitalization of the Emancipation Day Big Picnic – St. Catharines took off at the Lakeside Park, Port Dalhousie today as Black families converged on the park to enjoy poetry, music, and cultural activities. The Big Picnic is significant in many ways.
Rochelle Bush, Trustee and Historian for Salem Chapel BME Church gave a historical journey of the picnic while speaking at the Raising of Pan African flag event held July 29, 2022.
“The Big Picnic as it was referred to did not take place on August 1. The Big Picnic took place on the first Thursday of the month in Niagara,” she noted.
Rochelle Bush said people would come together for the festive celebration from 3 days to a week.
Attendees came from other parts of Canada and the United States. Those from the United States were mostly from Atlantic City – New Jersey, New York City and Windsor.
“In 1946 the highest count was 10,000 people.
“Port Dalhousie was the site of the Big Picnic because of closeness to the Grand Midway and amusement parks,” said Bush.
She was glad the Big Picnic is being revitalized. It used to be a family gathering of descendants of the freedom seekers. It brought together North American Black families – those who escaped by the Underground Railroad.
Rochelle Bush is also the Owner and Operator of Tubman Tours Canada.
“Now with Matter of Black and Black 905, the revitalization of the Big Picnic will grow larger,” she noted.
Mosaic Edition photo gallery Big Picnic – Lakeside Park – Port Dalhousie