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Travelling with navigator Samuel de Champlain, de Costa arrived in Nova Scotia some time between 16 as a translator for the French explorer Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Monts.

The first known black person to live in what would become Canada was a slave from Madagascar named Olivier Le Jeune, who may have been of partial Malay ancestry.

Preston, in the Halifax area, is the community with the highest percentage of black people, with 69.4 per cent; it was a settlement where the Crown provided land to Black Loyalists after the American Revolution.

At times, it has been claimed that Black Canadians have been significantly undercounted in census data.

The first recorded black person to set foot on land now known as Canada was a free man named Mathieu da Costa.

For example, one key health organization dedicated to HIV/AIDS education and prevention in the Black Canadian community is now named the African and Caribbean Council on HIV/AIDS in Ontario, the Toronto publication Pride bills itself as an "African-Canadian and Caribbean-Canadian news magazine", and G98.7, a Black-oriented community radio station in Toronto, was initially branded as Caribbean African Radio Network.

In French, the terms noirs canadiens or afro-canadiens are used.

As a group, black people arrived in Canada in several waves.

The first of these came as free persons serving in the French Army and Navy, though some were enslaved or indentured servants.

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