British Home Child Day

Council Proclaims September 28 as British Home Child Day in the Municipality of Port Hope

Town Hall clock tower to be lit up with coloured lights in recognition of those affected by the former child migrant program

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - Port Hope, ON

The Municipality of Port Hope has proclaimed September 28, 2020 as British Home Child Day in the Municipality of Port Hope, to acknowledge and bring attention to those local descendants who were emigrated from the United Kingdom at the beginning of the 20th Century.

“This is an important recognition for many of our families in the Municipality of Port Hope, particularly those who live in the rural area, where there are descendants of British Home Children to this day,” explains Councillor Vicki Mink. “We will honour the contributions of the British home children who established roots here in Port Hope and across Canada.”

According to the British Home Children Advocacy & Research Association, over 100,000 children from the United Kingdom were emigrated to locations across Canada from the late 1860s up until 1948. These children were used as indentured farm workers and for domestic labour. The child migration scheme was born during the Industrial Revolution. For the most part, these children were not orphans or homeless, but rather came from intact families who had fallen on hard times after illness struck or the death of a parent. Without a social or child advocacy system in place, many families surrendered their offspring to an organization that in turn emigrated the children overseas.

Many of the British Home Children remained in Canada, fought in the World Wars, raised families, and contributed to their communities despite their hardships and, for many, a lack of formal education.

In addition to proclaiming September 28, 2020 as British Home Child Day, Council and Staff have committed to participating in the Beacons of Light program - a tribute to the British Home Children – by illuminating Town Hall in red and blue from September 25 to 28. Members of Council encourage residents to participate in the Beacons of Light program by keeping a light on in their homes or on their front porches on Monday, September 28, to commemorate, celebrate and honour the British Home Children in Canada.

This acknowledgement also aligns with Culture Days, a national celebration of arts and culture, which takes place annually at the end of September.

The Government of Canada proclaimed 2010 the Year of the British Home Child, and various efforts have been made to ensure the past is not forgotten. Additional information about Canada’s British Home Children can be found on the Government of Canada website.