A remarkable piece of our history is the now well-known fact that the first Jamaicans on record to have arrived in Canada were a group of Maroons who in 1796 were taken to Halifax in Nova Scotia, as punishment for fighting against the British. Another known historical detail is that the origin of our national dish, Ackee and Codfish, can be found in part in the provenance of the salted cod from Canada, to form a marriage with the ackee in the form of Jamaica’s national dish. While it is no longer the case, the cod was a plentiful resource in the waters around Newfoundland and to a lesser extent Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Rich in protein and relatively inexpensive, the cod was an integral part of the diet of the slave population.
Today, it remains an important part of Jamaican cuisine and indeed is of tremendous cultural significance. To these circumstances is attributed the expression ‘from saltfish a shingle house top” to indicate the length of time an act has been taking place. Today, salted fish to accompany ackee comes from other countries around the world. This delicacy is found on the shelves of several supermarket chains and in ethnic stores in Canada.