While Black Lives Matter demonstrators are marching in one part of Toronto there is a small café located in the most southerly part of the city that is named for and honors one of Canada’s most unknown famous Black men – Dr. Anderson Ruffin Abbott, a free born Canadian surgeon, family doctor and decorated hero of the American Civil War.
The Abbott, a small café on Spencer Avenue in the Parkdale area of Toronto has been in existence for 10 years now and from the very beginning it has honored Dr. Abbott (1837-1913).
Anderson Ruffin Abbott was born to free Black parents in 1837. They were transplanted free born Black Americans who came north to escape the much more lethal form of racism that existed in the United States in those days. The family were originally merchants, operating a general goods store in Mobile, Alabama. After they relocated to Canada, Abbott’s father (Wilson Abbott) made his money in real estate eventually becoming active in the politics of early Toronto and winning a seat on the City Council in 1838. Abbott had 2 siblings who survived to adulthood; Amelia Etta and William Henson.