BARRIE – British Home Child Day will be celebrated in Canada on Sept. 28, marking 150 years since the first group of children arrived in 1869.
It is part of an international tribute to the children, more than 100,000 of whom were emigrated right across Canada from the United Kingdom, from 1869 until 1948, to be used as indentured farm workers and domestics.
Believed by Canadians to be orphans, only two per cent truly were. The majority were from single parent families, most often due to a parent dying, or from families that were poor and destitute. These children were sent to Canada by over 50 organizations.
Despite many suffering abuse, neglect and discrimination in Canada, these children went on to make major contributions to Canadian society, with descendants numbering in the millions.
The anniversary is being promoted by the British Home Children Advocacy and Research Association, a Barrie-based not for profit organization dedicated to the story of Canada’s British Home Children.
The mandate of the organization is to promote awareness, to advocate for those who no longer have a voice and to provide free research help to those seeking their family histories; often providing closure from painful pasts.