Ontario’s Home Child Day

Ontario’s Home Child Day

Posted on September 28 by admin
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September 28, 2012 is the second annual Home Child Day in Ontario, an important date for my family and thousands of other families in Canada.

In April 1928, my mother, Catherine McCallum, arrived in Canada as part of the child migration scheme that sent thousands of children to Canada from Great Britain between 1880 and 1930. Her brother Duncan followed her a year later. There were many sponsoring agencies and orphanages that sent children to a new life in Canada.

The migration schemes were rooted in the evangelical fervour and the real need of the day to save the destitute children of Great Britain’s industrial cities. The vision of the founders of the agencies was one of optimism and hope that a new country would be the promised land and provide a bright future where the children would have a new and better life. For many this dream came true, but others lived in harsh conditions and suffered abuse, neglect, and a lifetime spent hiding their home child story.

My mother had a happier story. With the good education she received in the Orphan Homes of Scotland (today called Quarriers) she became a proud registered nurse, married, and had four wonderful children.

Home Child Day is an opportunity for all of us to talk about this history and hear the stories (good and bad) of the children who came here as orphans but helped build Canada as proud Canadians. Ask someone you know if they have a home child story. You will be surprised at how many stories you will hear.

A very special thank you to Jim Brownell, the former MPP for Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry, who worked so hard to have September 28 declared as Home Child Day in Ontario in recognition of all the home children who came to Canada.

Top photo: Catherin McCallum’s family in front of the cottage where she grew up in the children’s village at the Orphans Homes of Scotland

Bottom Photo: A reunion trip of home child descendants to Quarriers in Scotland in 2010