A hearty dedication
A Native Red Maple Tree was donated to the Lost Villages Museum by the Ontario East British Home Child Family and dedicated during the British Home Child Day event on Sept. 29. Front from left, Ron Baker, Joan McEwan, Walter Hambleton, Jim Brownell. Back from left, South Stormont deputy mayor Tammy Hart, SDSG MP Guy Lauzon, Mia Grant, Seth Grant, Eleanor O’Shea, SDSG MPP Jim McDonell, SDG Warden Ian McLeod. Thompson Goddard photo
Carolyn Thompson Goddard
SOUTH STORMONT – The Ontario East British Home Child Family celebrated the first British Home Child Day in Canada and the eighth British Home Child Day in Ontario on Sept. 29 at the Lost Villages Museum (LVM) in South Stormont. Activities were designed to tell the history of over 120,000 British children who were sent to Canada between the 1860’s and 1940’s.
Throughout the day, visitors to the LVM were able to hear the stories of British Home Children told by descendants or researchers and see the trunks that carried their meagre belongings to this country. Visitors could also visit with new friends and old while learning about these young children who were brought to Canada by philanthropic organizations to serve as indentured domestic servants or farm hands.
Dignitaries at the event included Stormont, Dundas and South Glengarry MP Guy Lauzon, SDSG MPP Jim McDonell, SDG Warden Ian McLeod and Tammy Hart, deputy mayor of South Stormont. Following a brief opening ceremony, OEBHCF president Judy Neville presided over a ceremonial planting of a Native Red Maple Tree donated by that organization, the Lost Villages Museum. Later in the day Neville donated several BHC related articles including a trunk which came to Canada with a child from the Barnardo organization in Great Britain.
Visitors were encouraged to follow the sunflower trail and visit the various buildings at the museum. Early in the day SDSG MP Guy Lauzon told the group gathered in the Sandtown Advent Christian Church the story of the motion which resulted in the designation of Sept. 28 as BHC Day in Canada, while others told of their BHC ancestor. In the Forbes Memorial Reading Room, authors of books on BHC gathered while in the Stuart Home, Jim Brownell told the story of Mary Scott Pearson, his BHC grandmother who arrived in Canada on Sept. 28, 1891. For those researching British Home Children, John Sayers from the British Isles Family History Society was available throughout the day providing information on the various resources available.
A new event this year was the Trunk Talk which was held at the Moulinette Station as the day concluded. When the British Home Children came to Canada, their belongings were usually packed into trunks which travelled with them. The different sending organizations had different styles of trunks and some fortunate descendants have their ancestor’s trunk. The stories of a few BHC were told by descendants with their trunk available for viewing.
The efforts of the OEBHCF and organizations like it across this vast country have ensured the story of these youngsters who came to this country, with so little, and gave so much to their new homeland will continue to be told to succeeding generations.