Burr Plato was born into slavery in 1833 in Logan County, part of present day West Virginia. He escaped from slavery in 1856, along with seven other fugitive slaves, and arrived one month later in Fort Erie a free man. Plato settled in Niagara Falls and worked as a porter and farm hand while spending his spare time learning how to read and write. He eventually saved up enough money to buy himself a home on Stanley St. where he raised a large family of 10 children.
Plato was an active member of the community in Niagara, working as a successful businessman and member of the British Methodist Episcopal Church in Niagara Falls. He was also greatly involved in local politics and in 1886 he became one of the first Blacks in Canada to be elected to a municipal office. Plato retired from public life in 1901 and died four years later in 1905 at the age of 72.