Commemorating our British Home Children

Article writer – Amy Gilpin

They often came from poor families or orphanages. Some were in poor health; others were in trouble with the law. Some had no living family and were orphans in the truest sense of the word. Beginning in 1869 and continuing through 1948, over 100,000 children were shipped from the United Kingdom to Canada as part of the British Child Emigration Movement. The vast majority were hosted by farm families, where the children were put to work performing farm labour or domestic duties.

Many were moved from family to family, place to place. Others were lucky enough to end up with families that treated them well and gave them the love and care they needed. Most were ignored by the placement society and in too many cases abuse and neglect went unreported. Some grew up to live happy, productive lives. Some ran away and were never heard from again. Sadly, some died.

On September 28th each year, we remember them. We honour and respect them. It is estimated that about 10% of Canadians descend from one or more British Home Children. For more information, please reach out to British Home Children/Home Child Canada, a charity established in 2012 that is dedicated to preserving their memory.

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