Wednesday, 28 October 2015

From Unwanted to Prosperous

"Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat." -- Mother Teresa

Between 1869 and the 1950s, over 100,000 children were sent to Canada from Great Britain during the child emigration movement. The purpose of this program was mainly to give war orphans a better life in a country far removed from conflict. However there was a dark side: many children were in fact not orphans but had been deemed unwanted by their families and society in general. The child care organizations profited when they essentially sold these children to farmers in Canada and other Commonwealth countries. Siblings in foster care were separated from their families and each other, in many cases never seeing them again.

My grandmother's elder brother Alfred Stride came to Canada under this program at the age of sixteen. He was not an orphan; although his father had been killed in 1914, his mother was still alive. However for as yet unknown reasons he was shipped off to Canada, arriving on the steamship Metagama in the spring of 1916.

After working on a farm in the town of Macklin Saskatchewan for the summer, he lied about his age to enlist in the Canadian army. En route to his deployment he made a brief stop in England to see his family (which inspired his younger sister Dorothy to come to Canada seven years later) and then continued on to Europe where he served in France and Belgium.

After the war he returned to Canada, this time to British Columbia where he signed onto the ship Makura as a steward and sailed several tours to Honolulu Hawaii and Sydney Australia. At last he settled down in New Westminster (now part of Vancouver), where he married Maud Black in 1925 and ran a farm where they raised chickens. In the early 1940s he tracked down his sister Dorothy, who subsequently spent several summers helping out on the farm.

Alfred Stride and his wife unfortunately had no children, and remained in the Vancouver area until their deaths. He is buried in the Surrey Centre Cemetery.

*This is a re-post from the original Cinquefoil Heritage blog on Blogster which has been removed by the author.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! That's so awful that that parents gave away "unwanted" kids. I'm glad to hear that this fellow made a life for himself in Canada via the military. Talk about making lemonade out of lemons!