By 1833, the British Empire had abolished slavery throughout its territories, meaning the United States bordered a slavery-free Canada despite its own continuation of slavery. The Civil War scattered opinion on the subject and became a prolonged conflict betwwen the Union and the Confederacy. As the United States lost its president to assassination, Canadians, as well as people around the world, expressed their sympathy through letters written to the new president, Andrew Johnson, along with Lincoln's surviving family members. However, Canadians in Brockville also indicated their solidarity with the United States by temporarily closing their businesses and establishing a public time to grieve for the loss of President Lincoln on April 20, 1865.

Brockville's continued support of Lincoln's messages of freedom and equality is, in the eyes of current mayor David L. Henderson, best indicated by the city's noted acceptance of the gay community within Brockville as well as the city's focus on tolerance and open-mindedness in general.