No go for British Home Child Roadway; alternative commemorations explored

County Rd. 12 will remain known as just County Rd. 12.

STORMONT — County Rd. 12 won’t be known as the British Home Child Roadway.

Instead, the Council of the United Counties of Stormont Dundas and Glengarry (SDG) is looking into alternative means of recognizing those historical childhood immigrants from Britain.

South Dundas Deputy Mayor Jim Locke explained last week that Counties Council opted against the extra label for no. 12 out of concern it may spur other causes to come forward with commemorative naming requests on SDG’s other county roads.

Carolyn Thompson Goddard, who grew up in Chesterville, had pitched the idea June 20 to Counties Council, after receiving earlier support in principle from the councils of both North Stormont and South Stormont.

Goddard acknowledged being “a bit disappointed” with the July 18 decision against designating Country Road 12 as the British Home Child Roadway.

The concept is not entirely without precedent in SDG. County Rd. 43 was titled the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders Commemorative Highway several years ago.

However, Goddard was “very pleased” that Director of Transportation and Planning Services Ben de Haan was directed to investigate alternate ideas raised by South Dundas Mayor Evonne Delegarade to acknowledge the local contributions of British Home Children. “These suggestions include the possibility of having displays in a park setting designed to provide information on this part of Canadian history as well as in the future the stories of other immigrants to this county,” the local history buff said.

British Home Children were impoverished or orphaned children from England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland who were shipped to Canada, between the 1860s and 1930s, as indentured farm and house labour.  Ranging from three to 18 years of age, an estimated 130,000 or more such  children arrived in this country as a result of the Child Migration Scheme and worked in a similar number of Canadian households.

Goddard’s maternal grandfather was a British Home Child.

SDG has become something of an epicentre of British Home Child commemorations. Former MPP Jim Brownell successfully spearheaded legislation at Queen’s Park marking Sept. 28 as British Home Child Day in Ontario.

Upper Canada Village, in partnership with the Ontario East British Home Child Family organization, also hosts a free display on the topic inside the old Aultsville train station. It’s open select dates this season: http://www.uppercanadavillage.com/events/british-home-child-exhibit-and-information/

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