Beacons of Light — British Home Children & Child Migrants Sesquicentennial Tribute on Sept. 28 locally

From left, William O'Shea, 12, Eleanor O'Shea, 10 and Mia Grant, 12, all of Cornwall, are the great grandchildren of the late Edwin Matthew Baker, a British Home Child who arrived in Canada in the early 1900s. Photographed in 2018, the trio pose with the original trunk that accompanied Baker on his trans-Atlantic journey at the age of 14. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

MORRISBURG — 2019 marks the 150th year since the first of the British Home Children arrived in Canada, and interested groups, individuals and communities in Canada and around the world are being asked to mark the milestone with ‘Beacons of Light’ display in their memory — locally on Sept. 28.

The British Home Child Advocacy and Research Association suggests illuminating memorials, monuments, buildings and other structures with red,white and blue or yellow, which represents the sunflower — the bloom representing British Home Children — as a symbolic gesture showing they are not forgotten. Queen Elizabeth II is reported to have sent a letter of support for this work and  initiative.

Those unable to participate with lighting are offered the option of making the observation through proclamations, prayers and the like. The list of worldwide participants now exceeds 100 in places such as Niagara Falls, the Toronto  CN Tower, the Northern Lights Display in Vancouver, the Peace Bridge — between Fort Erie, Ontario and Buffalo, New York — and St. Andrews House in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Also slated to honour the occasion Sept. 28 — British Home Child Day in Canada — are the Ontario East British Home Child Family organization, The Lost Villages Historical Society as well as Williamstown’s Nor’Westers and Loyalist Museum. Those groups will respectively illuminate the Aultsville Station near Morrisburg, the Sandtown Advent Christian Church at the Lost Villages Museum in Long Sault, and the British Home Child Memorial Tree at the Williamstown site.


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