John Graves Simcoe was born at Cotterstock, Northumberland in England in 1752. He joined the military at age 19 and served during the American Revolution (1777-1781) as commander of the Queen's Rangers. After a brief political career in Britain, he was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, the newly created province split from Quebec. He was sworn in on July 8th, 1792 in a small church in Kingston, and he arrived in Newark (Niagara-On-The-Lake), with his wife Elizabeth, on July 26th, 1792.
The Government that John Graves Simcoe established in Upper Canada had an assembly elected by landowners. The first session of New Parliament began September 17th, 1792 at the Freemason's Hall in Newark. The first session lasted barely a month, but during that period Simcoe passed 8 acts including the right to trial by jury. During its second session, Simcoe pushed for the approval of a new anti-slavery law making Upper Canada the first English speaking colony to take steps towards abolishing the institution of slavery.