Friday, December 4, 2009

Home Children

On another one of my lunch-time walks I ventured further down the Richmond Rd, where it turns into Wellington and came across this Orphanage for lack of a better word. From what I can remember from reading the sign, it was a place where British children were kept until a suitable home could be found for them.

I understand today that there are a lot of people who are researching their ancestry/genealogy and have found themselves descended from a a British Home Child. I have included some pictures here, of where some of them once stayed. We have all read the negative aspects of being a child, sent over to this land, and being placed in an unsuitable home.
I'm going to voice my opinion on the lighter side, and say that not everyone of these children could have experienced a bad personal upbringing by these Canadian families. Times were not great over here in Canada.  Canada, being bigger, and more prosperous, would no doubt offer these children opportunities that Britain could not.   But I try to take a look at what else might have happened. What would Britain have done with the children? Was their life so grand over there that being sent to Canada was a detriment to the children? I agree that life here in Canada was not good for all of them, but would life have been better for them if they were not sent here. Not all of these children were orphans, but were born to mothers who could not properly feed and clothe them. I would like to think these mothers (parents) put their children in the homes in the hopes that life would one day be good for these kids, and in turn, the Canadian Government thought the same by taking them in. I can't think for a moment that all Canadian people would have treated tall of these children unjustly, inhumanely, cruelly and unfairly, especially since many of the adoptive parents were born in Britain themselves, and now living their life in Canada. Life was not that much more easier in Canada either, regardless of what era we speak of. There was not the health care we have today, and statistics still claim that almost 9% of all Canadian children live below the poverty line/level. I guess what my point is, would the kids that were sent here as "British Home Children" , have a better life today if they stayed in work houses/orphanges in Britiain? I have seen a few documentaries now,  British Home Children researching their past, and finding out how they came to be in Canada. Their stories are the beginning....but in the documentaries I have seen they all grew up, got jobs, and raised children. I don't know if that would have been the outcome if they remained in these work houses in Britain....would they have grown up? would they have got jobs? I'd like to think that these people turned out better, just like their own parents hoped they would have, than if they remained in Britain in the work houses, and the orphanages. The following are some pictures I took of the place of where the Home Children stayed while in Ottawa....I only had a disposable camera, and while it took a good pic of the building it did not take a good pic of the sign in front of it, which would tell us a lot more on the subject.

This area where the orphanage is on Wellington Street is very old. There is a beautification project going on in the vicinity. This building has a very nice statue atop the doorway. I think it's the Virgin Mary, but I cant' remember for sure. Like I said the camera was a disposable, so I had to fill the film which took me about a month before I got it developed. Once a month has gone by, I forget. But if any of you have traced your ancestry back just far enough that you found out they were stationed at Ottawa before being farmed out to families, then you can probably assume they saw this place.

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