Parks Canada recognizes Chloe Cooley for her courage, determination in her 1793 forced transporation

Asha Bajaj
3 min readFeb 10, 2024


Chloe Cooley. Image credit: X/@Aburgfreedom

Ottawa/CMEDIA: Parks Canada has reportedly recognized the national historic significance of Chloe Cooley for her courage, and determination during her 1793 forced transportation.

To honor Chloe Cooley, the Government of Canada held a special plaque unveiling ceremony at Navy Hall in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

The commemoration was made by Chris Bittle, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities and Member of Parliament for St. Catharines, on behalf of Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada.

An enslaved woman of African descent living in Queenston, Upper Canada, in March 1793, her enslaver Adam Vrooman arranged to sell Cooley to an American in upstate New York.

Following her resistance to forced transportation, Cooley was bound with rope to prevent her escape and gagged to silence her protest.

With the assistance of his brother Isaac Vrooman and a son of Loyalist McGregory Van Every, Adam Vrooman violently forced Cooley into a small boat and transported her across the Niagara River to the American shore.

In Spite of her continued resistance, Cooley was ultimately unable to escape, but nevertheless Peter Martin, a free man of African descent and a veteran of the American Revolutionary War, and William Grisley (Crisley), Vrooman’s white employee, were strongly impressed by Cooley’s resistance.

The two men later testified to her capture before Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe and two members of the Executive Council of Upper Canada.

Although Attorney General John White was instructed to prosecute Adam Vrooman, no charges were laid as he was acting within his legal rights in selling Cooley.

As a result, Simceo instructed the Attorney General to draft legislation imposing limits on enslavement in Upper Canada.

Cooley’s resistance led to legislative changes resulting in the 1793 Act to prevent further introduction of Slaves, and to limit the Term of Contracts for Servitude within this Province, leading to the extension of the Underground Railroad into Upper Canada and the gradual abolition of slavery.

Her story of resistance became a popular example of the everyday acts of resistance of enslaved women.

“Chloe Cooley’s acts of resistance demonstrate her enormous courage and determination against her enslavers…contributed to changes in legislation which limited slavery in Upper Canada…and on future generations…By commemorating Chloe Cooley, we can better understand Canada’s history of enslavement… effects of its legacy can still be felt today” Chris Bittle, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities And Member of Parliament for St. Catharines was reported saying.

The designation process under Parks Canada’s National Program of Historical Commemoration is largely driven by public nominations. To date, more than 2,250 designations have been made nationwide.

In recognition of significant people, places, and events that shaped this country as one way of helping Canadians connect with their past, the Government of Canada, through Parks Canada and the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, shares these stories with Canadians to foster understanding and reflection on the diverse histories, cultures, legacies, and realities of Canada’s past and present.



Asha Bajaj

I write on national and international Health, Politics, Business, Education, Environment, Biodiversity, Science, First Nations, Humanitarian, gender, women