Emancipation Day is celebrated in many former British colonies in the Caribbean and areas of the United States on various dates in observance of the emancipation of slaves of African descent.
It is also observed in other areas in regard to the abolition of serfdom or other forms of servitude.
In 2008, the Province of Ontario dedicated August 1 as Emancipation Day.
On Friday, July 31, 2015, at about 11.30 p.m., the TTC puts on a special train at Union Station for those celebrating this significant day. This has been a tradition for many years, yet unfamiliar to so many. The train voyages up the subway system and ends at the Downsview Station at about 12.45 a.m., on Saturday, August 1, where the celebrators participate in a colourful formality. 32 Division officers were on hand to assist with a safe and joyous ceremony.
Under the leadership of Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe, Toronto was founded with a commitment to abolishing slavery through the passage of the Anti-Slavery Act on July 9, 1793. Toronto would become the first jurisdiction in the British Commonwealth to move toward the abolition of slavery.