From 1869 to 1939 various workhouses, sheltering homes, orphanages and child care organizations in Great Britain immigrated over 100,000 orphaned, abandoned, pauper children ages 1 to 18 to Canada. Known as the British Home Children (BHC), life for these children coming alone to Canada to work as domestics and farm labourers forging ahead in a new land was not always easy.
Of the over 50 sending agencies, some of the more well known names are Rye, Macpherson, Fegan, Quarriers, Barnardo, Middlemore, Catholic Emigration Society, Salvation Army, Church of England Waif & Strays.
It is estimated that 12%, over 4 million, of the Canadian population is a descendant of a Home Child. Home Children Descendants now live worldwide.
British Home Child Day – Sept 28
In 2011 the Ontario Government proclaimed September 28th ‘British Home Child Day’ in Ontario, “to recognize and honour the contributions of the British Home Children who established roots in Ontario.” The then Member of Provincial Parliament for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, Jim Brownell, had worked tirelessly to ensure that the legacy of these children would be remembered in Ontario for generations to come. Throughout Ontario events are taking place to commemorate British Home Child Day.