Tuesday 7 June 2016

Canada Post Recognizes British Home Children

A group of British Home Children, accompanied by Dr. Barnardo's widow, head to Canada courtesy http://www.guelphmercury.com/news-story/4532437-wellington-county-families-explore-their-connections-to-british-home-children/

From 1869 to 1939, 100,000 destitute children from Britain's cities immigrated to Canada where they worked as child labourers (http://alinefromlinda.blogspot.ca/2011/08/british-home-children.html).   While the churches and philanthropic organizations which sent them here had good intentions, they were unable to properly monitor their situations.  Some of these "little immigrants" were treated well, but many were overworked and even abused.

One in ten Canadians, including myself, is a descendant of a British Home Child, named after the Children's Homes that they lived in.  They settled all across Canada, but the majority settled in Ontario.  The highest concentration of Home Children was in North Muskoka, where my great- grandma lived once she immigrated here.  These children worked on Canada's farms, in Canada's factories and on the battlefield in Europe during the First World War.  They helped build this country.

Many people do not know that they are descendants of the Home Children since it was a source of shame for the children. As they die off, however, some are sharing their stories.  Rose McCormick Brandon, another Home Child descendant, features many of these accounts in her book Promises of Home:  Stories of Canada's British Home Children (https://littleimmigrants.wordpress.com/promises-of-home-stories-of-canadas-british-home-children/).

Brant MP Phil McColeman, the nephew of a British Home Child, championed a bill declaring 2010 the Year of the British Home Child in Canada.  The same year, Canada Post issued a stamp in their honour.  "The stamp features an image of the SS Sardinian ( a ship that carried children from Liverpool to Quebec), a map symbolizing their trans-Atlantic journey, a photograph of a child at work on a farm and one of a newly arrived Home Child, standing beside a suitcase while en route to a distributing home in Hamilton, Ontario."

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