Before the American Civil War, and almost a decade before Confederation, abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass visited Galt (present-day Cambridge, Ontario), Canada West. It was mid-December 1857, and he lectured about ""The Brotherhood of Nations."" Douglass was a familiar figure on the lecture circuit, having helped many fugitive slaves flee to Canada through the Underground Railroad. Although Douglass had been a close associate of radical abolitionist John Brown, he also developed a friendship with President Abraham Lincoln that lasted until Lincoln's assassination by John Wilkes Booth.
The lecture series that winter in Galt included other well-known speakers, but all other speeches were free to the residents of the town, except for the Douglass lecture, for which there was a 12-and-a-half cent admission charge. Proceeds helped defray travel costs for Douglass, and fund his anti-slavery newspaper in Rochester, N.Y.
When he died in 1895, he was one of the best-known men in America.