The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada dedicated a plaque on August 29, 2001 to commemorate the contributions of “Home Children”. This plaque is located at 51 Avon Street, Stratford, Ontario near a former receiving home for these smallest of Canadian immigrants. The text of the plaque reads,
“Between 1869 and 1939, about 100,000 child immigrants, casualties of unemployment and poverty in Britain, were uprooted from their homes and families. With hopes of giving them new lives in Canada, British agencies sent children to receiving homes like this one. From here, a few of the younger children were adopted into Canadian families, but most were apprenticed as agricultural labourers or domestic servants. Often deprived of education and the comforts of family life, Home Children suffered loneliness and prejudice. Their experience reveals a poignant chapter in Canadian immigration history.”
There have been many books written on this subject. Recently a long-time researcher of Home Child immigration, Marjorie P. Kohli, published “The Golden Bridge: Young Immigrants to Canada, 1833 – 1939”. This is an essential reference for those with Home Child roots or interested historians. She also maintains a website, Young Immigrants to Canada, dedicated to the subject.
The Library and Archives of Canada has a section where their database can be searched. The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa is dedicated to telling the story and making resources available for Home Child researchers.
The names of the some of the primary organizers of the British homes and agencies who took in these children and sent them overseas were Maria Rye, Annie MacPherson, Thomas Barnardo, William Quarrier and James Middlemore.
The Canadian government declared 2010 as the Year of the Home Child and Canada Post issued a commemorative stamp to honor them, recognition long overdue.