Emancipation Day is a federally recognized day to celebrate the end of slavery in Canada and parts of the Caribbean. It is held on Aug. 1st as that was the day the Slavery Abolition Act was passed in the UK, ending slavery in the British Empire. The parallel day in the U.S. is Juneteenth, on June 19th, the anniversary of the announcement of freedom for slaves reaching Texas after the civil war.
The Emancipation Day Picnic here in Owen Sound is the oldest continuously running such event in Canada, but the Caribbean Festival in Toronto, formerly Caribana, is undoubtedly the largest. All such events are a celebration of freedom.
The Slavery Abolition Act opened the doors to American slaves, where freedom only came after the Civil War in 1865. The potential freedom here led to the Underground Railway, a network of safe houses that assisted black slaves as they sought their freedom in the north, so for 30 years blacks escaped to Canada and took up a new life here. The black settlement in Priceville is one evidence of this.
Even though slavery ended in Canada before it did in the U.S., that doesn't mean there was no slavery here. Before 1833 there were about 4000 slaves in Canada, of whom more than half were indigenous peoples. In fact more black slaves arrived in Nova Scotia than in southern Ontario during these years. But those years did leave a legacy of racial discrimination that is still with us today.
You can learn more about slavery and freedom for slaves in Canada by googling the Canadian Government's website on 'Emancipation Day - August 1st',