James W. Hill Public School
T: 905-845-2333 F: 905-845-6660
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Our School is named after James Wesley Hill:
The Underground Railroad secretly transported fugitive slaves from the southern United States across the border to freedom in Canada. From 1820 to 1865, thousands of African-American slaves escaped into Canada. Although Oakville was a small terminus for the Underground Railroad, hundreds of African-Americans came to this area, including Maryland-born James Wesley Hill, also known as 'Canada Jim'. After crossing the border in a packing box,
Hill settled on a farm in Oakville. He helped many slaves who followed by giving them work on his strawberry farm, helping make Oakville the one-time strawberry industry capital of Canada. Hill became an agent for the Underground Railroad, returning to the United States several times over the next few years and leading an estimated 700-800 African Americans back to Oakville. He became known as 'Canada Jim' for his escapades. Hill built a house which still stands today at 457 Maple Grove Dr. Hill's memory is honoured in Montgomery County, Maryland.
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