Kootenay author Sean Arthur Joyce presented at Rossland Museum's fall speaker series on Thursday

Home children remembered by Kootenay author

Sean Arthur Joyce gave a talk on Canada's home children at the Rossland Museum on Thursday, Oct. 29.

Sean Arthur Joyce gave a talk on Canada’s home children at the Rossland Museum on Thursday, Oct. 29.

Joyce, from New Denver, is the author of Laying the Children’s Ghosts to Rest: Canada’s Home Children in the West, and his talk was part of the museum’s fall speaker series.

There were more than 100,000 home children rounded up from the streets of Britain to be used in Canada as labourers between 1869 and 1948, and it’s estimated that one in eight Canadians is the descendant of a home child. Joyce himself is part of that statistic.

Joyce’s grandfather, Cyril William Joyce, came to Canada when he was 16, without parents and with three other boys, who ranged in age from 12 to 15 or 16.

“He was sent to Edmonton where he was then shipped out to various farms in northern Alberta to work,” explained Joyce.

Joyce’s grandfather didn’t talk about how he came to Canada and disposed of letters and photos that might have revealed something about his past.

Writing the book gave Joyce a chance to learn more about how his grandfather came to Canada and how that shaped him.

“I learned that he absolutely hated the farm, hated the work, was very unhappy, and couldn’t wait to get out basically,” said Joyce. “Until he got the chance to come to Trail and work for Cominco…. Cyril worked at Trail in one of the sort of control rooms that they had.”

Cyril wasn’t the only home child who ended up working for Cominco. Joyce also talked about the Roberts brothers, one of whom, Walter, ended up working at the smelter.

Life in Canada wasn’t easy for Walter who was abused by the first farmer he worked for, but eventually he started a family in Rossland. He’s now buried in Mountain View Cemetery with his sister.

Joyce published Laying the Children’s Ghosts to Rest last year, eight years after he started doing research.

“I started researching in 2007. I mean I work as a reporter so I wasn’t able to do it full-time until about 2011,” he said. “We visited archives in Victoria, Nelson, Ottawa—lots of places—Vernon. So we visited archives all over the country basically to try and track down information.”

Joyce said he’s surprised they don’t teach about home children in schools.

“Why is there this big empty space in our history when so many of us have direct ties to it?”

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Wildfire near Genelle

Located about 5km west of Genelle at 1600 metres

Firesmart program has homeowners ‘thinking like an ember’

RDCK offering free home assessments to protect homes from wildfires

RDCK issues evacuation order to Deer Creek residents

Local state of emergency declared in the area because of Deer Creek fire

Delays on Highway 3 at Kootenay Pass

DriveBC reminding travellers the area is an active wildfire zone and warning of fallen debris.

Kootenay fires grow — more evacuation alerts

Syringa fire prompts evacuation alerts plus HWY 3 closure and U.S. fire crosses into B.C.

Social media, digital photography allow millennials to flock to birdwatching

More young people are flocking to birdwatching than ever, aided by social media, digital photography

Vehicle fire on the Coquihalla

Heavy congestion in north bound lanes

East Kootenay fire victim honoured

Bradley Patrick Tipper remembered as gentle-hearted and generous

Lightning blamed for most recent regional fires

Southeast Fire Centre says 90 per cent of the 342 fires recently reported are lightning-caused

Prime minister greeted by B.C. premier as cabinet retreat begins

PM Justin Trudeau and Premier John Horgan meet in advance of federal cabinet meetings in Nanaimo

Are your kids anxious about going back to school?

BC Children’s Hospital offers tips to help your children be mindful and reduce stress

New trial ordered for James Oler in B.C. child bride case

Meanwhile, appeal court dismisses Emily Blackmore’s appeal of guilty verdict

This trash heap in Vancouver could be yours for $3.9 million

Sitting atop 6,000 square feet, the home was built in 1912, later destroyed by fire

Team Canada’s next game postponed at Little League World Series

They’re back in action on Wednesday against Peurto Rico

Most Read