Photo exhibit examines Canadian descendants of slaves

Photo exhibit examines Canadian descendants of slaves

A Toronto photographer is taking another look at Ontario's role in the Underground Railroad.

Yuri Dojc photographed descendants of slaves living in Canada for a portrait series called North is Freedom. 

Several families from Windsor-Essex and other parts of southern Ontario participated in the project. Twenty-four portraits were included in the final exhibition. 

"It was serendipity," Dojc told Windsor Morning host Tony Doucette. "Many years ago somebody told me, 'Everything is written.' I believe that everything I've done has been written before and I follow the script."

The exhibit is sponsored by the Canadian embassy to the United States in Washington D.C. The show opens to the public Friday. It will open alongside the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture. 

Dojc began the portrait series after seeing a monument to the Underground Railroad in Owen Sound, Ont. He connected with people whose ancestors came to Canada through the railroad and were still living there.

Through a "snowball reaction" he met other people descended from slaves who escaped to Canada.

"I went wherever I could get some connection," Dojc said. "When somebody referred me to somebody else, I would call, go there, then they would refer me to somebody else."

"There was no shortage of people to photograph," he said.