Tag Archives: poor

A Day With Children’s Aid in “Squatter’s Paradise” Tunney’s Pasture

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A Day With Children’s Aid in  “Squatter’s Paradise” Tunney’s Pasture

North end of Parkdale Avenue shanties. Photo CA-19803 courtesy of the City of Ottawa archives

Author’s Note- Aside from a few photographs there is hardly a trace that remains of the Tunney’s Pasture shanty village (the north end of Tunney’s along the Ottawa River) that existed for 25 years.

The poor constructed makeshift homes with cardboard, tar paper, and were built with earth floors, no electricity, no water, and of course no sanitation. The residents of Squatters Paradise as it was called, scoured Hintonburg and Wellington Village for anything they could use to improve their homes.

1943- It was under friendly compulsion that I spent a day with the Children’s Aid Society. Mrs. M. Jean Henshaw, executive director, had been “hounding” me for months to see the clinic and travel with the social service worker on her rounds. 

It was an experience I will never forget, and my admiration for the social service worker has grown by leaps and bounds. Unless one has actually visits the Children’s Aid Society when a clinic is in progress, and travelled on their regular rounds, there really is no conception of the type of service offered the community by this society.  

In the clinic chubby and very thin little children who looked worried were coming in for their regular examination by the clinic doctor. There was much crying at first. But the woman doctor in charge who is also a mother, intrigued the youngsters with a doll and a rattle, and soon gurgles and laughter were heard as the child was weighed and given a check-over. 

The increase in the work of the Children’s Aid Society in Ottawa may be gauged by the figures since the outbreak of war. Prior to September, 1939, the Children’s Aid Society cared for 140 families a month, and during the past month there were 773 families, involving 3,000 children. Members of the staff have doubled. In Ottawa and Carleton county there are some 400 foster homes, and some of these people have been persuaded to care for as many as six children at a time. 

They receive $15 to $18 a month per child and the society clothes them and provides for additional expenditures. Considering the number of children that pass through the agency in a day, it is extraordinary the amount of sympathy and personal supervision that is given them. If the child comes in for examination, each foster mother has to bring the child in at stated intervals. If the child is found to be underweight, cod liver oil and vitamins are supplied. Teeth are examined and, if necessary, the foster mother is told to take the child to the dental clinic. 

When an underweight child is found to have taken a dislike to porridge, orange juice and the necessary vitamin foods, other means are found to give them to her. Sometimes a child is being cared for by a foster mother, and her own parents are able to have her home again. Prior to this she is given a thorough examination and checking. 

Each morning a member of the May Court Club helps in the clinic at the Children’s Aid Society. An average of six new complaints are received and investigated each day by the society. By law these complaints have to be investigated, regardless of the person involved. If objections raised are too strong, the police assist and it has been found that the people who object the most are usually those who are guilty of neglect. 

Children’s Aid Society officers have been chased with knives and threatened with everything “under the sun”– but they remain placid “under fire,” and never give in. They see terrible sights. Children neglected, neither fed nor clothed, while the mother is out drinking or playing cards. They are on duty day and night, because complaints of crying children from neighbours’ houses often come in the middle of the night. Emergency placements are now often made by families who ordinarily would never have called on the Children’s Aid Society.

The mother may be taken seriously ill and with no maid in the home is helpless unless aid is given to her by the society. When we started on our visit we went first to a “squatter’s pasture” which is situated more than half a mile from the street, and we had to tramp through slush to see these children. The plight of the people living in these hovels is appalling. There are about 10 of them; drinking water is unavailable and they carry their water from the Ottawa river, having cut holes in the ice. Sanitation, of course, is lacking. 

shanty Village at Tunney’s Pasture

The people in “Squatter’s Pasture” have been forced to live there because of the housing shortage in Ottawa. The trip was made, essentially, to see that children in one family are attending school. High rubber boots were needed and the people in the huts were living in veritable individual Noah’s Arks. The water was at least three feet deep. 

Some of the “houses” are made of tar paper, over soft wood; some with a window, some without and one with a blanket for a door. I could imagine how the wind howled through the blanket when the weather was registering about 25 below zero. In one eight by twelve house a man, his wife and newborn babe exist. It has a door, but no window. The home we called at was about 18 by 18 which sheltered a father, mother and four children. They sleep on a three-quarter bed and a cot. The father has a job and receives about $12 a week. To go to school in Nepean, the children have to walk three miles. If they attend an Ottawa school, and because they live “over the line,” the father has to pay $4 per month per child and he finds this price prohibitive. 

A boy of 14. with dirty face and unkempt hair, opened the door at the next house visited. He was staying home from school to keep the children, while his parents were out working. The call had been from the neighbours that the younger children were not being properly looked after. The worker found that one child, lying in an untidy cot had hurt her hand. “She just ran a nail into it,” casually said the boy and the worker recommended that it be thoroughly washed and cleaned and said she would get in touch with the parents when they came home from work.

Dec 2, 1952 Ottawa Journal

Another way in which society helps is to budget civilians’ and soldiers wives. The next call was made to a soldier’s wife, whose husband is overseas, and who had asked for aid. She had been sick and has a couple of children going to school, and just wasn’t making ends meet. So the worker called to give aid in budgeting.

 An adoption case was the next on the program of the worker and a sympathetic hearing was given to the mother in the case, who did not want her child adopted. The child wanted to be adopted by the people who had “raised” him. Each problem presented to the society is an individual one, and has to be worked out to suit its own situation. Children are cared for from the time they are born until they are 16 years of age if necessary. 

A typical recent emergency is one of a boy aged 14, who arrived in town from another province. He had an accident and was taken to a hospital. The society was notified and after much trouble finally located the boy (who certainly might be termed as “difficult”) in a foster home on a farm. Finally his uncle was located and he was put on the train and sent home. This is just a typical day at the Children’s Aid trying to deal with the shanty town.

North end of Parkdale Avenue shanties. Photo CA-19803 courtesy of the City of Ottawa archives

Also read-When Low Income was Really Low Income– Tragedy in Lanark County– the 60s

Tragedy of the 60s — Cole Family Fire

The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
15 Aug 1942, Sat  •  Page 19

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Life in The House of Industry

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Life in The House of Industry

 

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1904

 

In the late 1800s Lanark County’s population was booming as railways and industries brought prosperity. But along with it came poverty, people had no place to go, and it was one thing after another, whether it was cholera, influenza, or diphtheria.

On February 2, 1903 the new House of Industry was erected by the county of Lanark on a seventy-eight-acre lot, immediately outside the limits of the town of Perth. It was opened by Rev. A. H. Scott, M.A., of St. Andrew’s Church, Perth, and Rev. Canon Mickelson, of St. James Church,  who were entrusted by the County Council with the dedication of the building.

The members of the Lanark Council, the clergy of Perth, and the mayors of adjoining municipalities dined together at noon, and after dinner the building was dedicated. After the dedication an examination was made of the different parts of the new structure. The general public was supplied with substantial refreshments during the afternoon and evening.

The upper storey of the building was converted into an auditorium from the platform of which addresses were delivered appropriate to the occasion. J. A. Stewart, LL.B., mayor of Perth, gave the first address, Hon. John Haggart, M.P., and Col Matheson M.L.A., both of Perth, followed. Mayor McKim, of Smiths Fallls  W. C. Caldwell, M.L.A., of Lanark; and Dr. Preston, of Carleton Place, were the other speakers. Judge Senkler presented Councillor Pattie the chairman of the building committee, with a souvenir chain of gold. The ceremony in connection was impressive and over two thousand people were present at the opening of the building.

The founders of the House of Industry were later criticized for a judgmental attitude that distinguished between the “deserving poor” (elderly people and invalids who were unable to work) and the “undeserving poor” (able-bodied people who couldn’t find a job because of such problems as alcoholism). But after researching the institution’s history they do deserve credit for helping people who were falling through the cracks. They really did make a difference.

The men slept separately and there was a dormitory upstairs for the women. In the morning they got some oatmeal and tea and then they were asked to contribute some labour. The women did some sewing and the men spent an hour or two chopping kindling, or working on their farm. Then they were expected to go and look for a job.

As a rule they tried to get the children out of the House at the age of about 14. They apprenticed some of the boys, and got places of service for the girls. It was not often boys and girts were put into the House of Industry who were of  a desirable class; when they were bright some relative generally took them. They kept no registry of what became of the children after they left the House, neither did they keep up correspondence with them.

The House of Industry was not known for gourmet fare. Staff were instructed that the soup should be nutritious, but not so tasty that people would be tempted to comeback for more. While some residents stayed just a few days, it soon became clear that others needed a permanent home.  Before the construction of this House of Industry in Perth the only alternative place to house indigent residents was in the county jail, so this was much better for the 90-100 people that lived there.

 

 

 

Historical Notes-

 

The Corporation of the County of Lanark has had a long history in the provision of residential care for seniors and other people requiring residential services. It began in February 1903 when the doors to the House of Industry opened in the stone part of the building next door, now called Perth Community Care Centre. In 1966, the County sold this building (at that time it was called Tayview Home), and proceeded to build a brand new 110-bed home and named it Lanark Lodge. The doors opened in September 1967, and all the residents from Tayview were moved to the adjacent, newly built Lanark Lodge. There have been two major building and renovation projects since at Lanark Lodge. In 1974, an additional 66 beds were added. Immediately thereafter, Fairview Manor was built by the County of Lanark in Almonte, opening its doors in 1977 to keep pace with the growing waiting lists of seniors needing a home. Lanark Lodge was again renovated in 1988 with the addition of a new wing, and the old part of the building was subsequently renovated in 1990 to improve the standard of physical space. Subsequent to the latest renovation in 1990, Lanark Lodge reduced its capacity from 176 to 163 residents.

 

Fairview Manor was divested to the Almonte General Hospital in the fall of 2004, leaving Lanark Lodge the sole long-term care home operated by the County of Lanark.

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  2.  House of Industry Kingston

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CLIPPED FROM
The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
28 Jun 1899, Wed  •  Page 1
Clipped from
The Ottawa Journal,
07 Feb 1907, Thu,
 

CLIPPED FROM
The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
09 Dec 1914, Wed  •  Page 4

CLIPPED FROM
The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
09 Dec 1914, Wed  •  Page 4

The House of Industry, Perth on the Christie Lake Road, c 1905. Photo by John Hart. Perth Remembered

Some residents of the Lanark County House of Refuge who were able to work had plenty of chores on the industrial farm. Also in the photo is Lawrence Conroy, who was the hired farmer in the 1940s until he became manager in 1949, works in the field with ardent helpers to harvest grain. Perth Remembered

The Subject of Insanity

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The Subject of Insanity

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Photo: Assistant Physician’s Office, Brockville Asylum for the Insane, [ca. 1903

Perth Courier, March 14, 1890

The Smith’s Falls News says:  One of our citizens, Arthur Couch, is suffering from that form of insanity known as melancholia. Six or seven weeks back the symptoms first began to show themselves but no further notice was taken at the time than would be taken of a man who might become somewhat odd or preoccupied.  A couple of weeks ago however, the disease took a more dangerous turn and on Saturday the 1st inst., he made an attempt on his life which would have been successful but for the providential interference of a friend.

An effort has been made to place the unfortunate man in the asylum at Kingston but that institution was over crowded and he could not be admitted.  He is at present at home where he is carefully watched although he is quiet in demeanour.  He appears to take no interest in anything around him except horses, and knows no one except his most intimate friends to whom he will once in a while talk horses. One of the peculiarities of his madness is that of the two horses which are standing in a stable he believes one to be dead and will not feed it.

 

Perth Courier, October 27, 1876

Almonte:  Insane—One of the workmen employed in Mr. William Wylie’s woolen mill named Thomas Glasgow, became deranged in his mind last week and was taken to the county gaol for safe keeping.  The unfortunate man has always been a quiet, industrious, and temperate man but a short time ago he lost his wife, which misfortune is supposed to have caused his present insanity.

Perth Courier, November 10, 1876

Insane—A few weeks ago a young man named Patrick Bowes, son of Mrs. Bowes of Almonte, showed signs of insanity which last week culminated in an undeniable attack of that dreadful complaint.  He was committed to the gaol at Perth on Monday last on information laid down by his uncle, Mr. John O’Neil of Bathurst, there to await the action of the asylum authorities.  He is about 17 years of age and in his affliction both he and his widowed mother have the entire sympathy of the people of Almonte.

Data Base for the Rockwood Insane Asylum in Kingston, Ontario

 

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  03 Mar 1948, Wed,  Page 16

Clipped from The Buffalo Commercial,  09 Oct 1902, Thu,  Page 2

 

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)

 

 

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When Low Income was Really Low Income– Tragedy in Lanark County– the 60s

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When Low Income was Really Low Income– Tragedy in Lanark County– the 60s

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Clipped from The Ottawa Journal13 May 1965, ThuPage 21

No one likes sad or controversial times of the past but they did occur and we should not forget them ever. This is a reminder of things we should not allow to happen again.

The inflationary pressure of the post-war years subsided during the 1950s. Perhaps the pent-up demand of the war years had been satisfied by the end of the 1940s. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased by only about 6 points between 1950 and 1960.
Consequently, of the decades studied, the 1950s saw the largest gains in real wages. The overall average annual wage increased by 43% to $16,000 in 1960. The average annual wage of men rose by 44%, from $12,800 in 1950 to nearly $18,500 in 1960, and that of women by 36% from $7,400 to $10,000.

Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth… these are one and the same fight. We must connect the dots between climate change, water scarcity, energy shortages, global health, food security and women’s empowerment. Solutions to one problem must be solutions for all. As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest.

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Clipped from The Ottawa Journal13 May 1965, ThuPage 21

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Clipped from The Ottawa Journal13 May 1965, ThuPage 21

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Clipped from The Ottawa Journal13 May 1965, ThuPage 21

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Clipped from The Ottawa Journal13 May 1965, ThuPage 21

 

Tragedy of the 60s — Cole Family Fire

 

historicalnotes

This week we had Emily Hollington, Director of Social Services; Housing etc for Lanark County at our council meeting give us the details of a job that looks impossible at times.

 

This was a question for Emily I had on housing..

Emily,

I received this note from Sheila McCallum and the senior residents of Elizabeth Court here in Carleton Place and would like to share this edited note from them as I feel it is important. This is what Sheila wrote:

Last night a discussion was held regarding the swearing in of new Council and promises made by most of them during their campaign regarding housing for low income seniors. I don’t recall, but I am sure these same promises were made by the previous mayor and council for the last 8 years.

The dire need is another Elizabeth Court residence that is strictly for seniors and incorporates both market and rent geared to income units.  There is such a waiting list here that applications are no longer being made available to prospective tenants.

We, the residents of Elizabeth Court are so fortunate to live in an affordable, well maintained, secure home. We all  have many acquaintances yearning for that same peace of mind and wondering what can be done. Thank you for taking the time to read this epistle and giving consideration to the contents.

Sheila McCallum Elizabeth Court

So, I asked-

Each one of us newly elected to council spoke about the urgency of senior and low income housing.  The reality is and I have been learning a lot since I joined council is that: Where you live in Lanark County determines wait time for housing. When it comes to wait times, Carleton Place has the longest waits at 7 years on average in 2017 with one bedrooms being the longest wait.  However in Mississippi Mills, the wait is less and a lot of their clients are coming from Carleton Place as there is nothing available around here for them.

As great as the need is here  few want to do low income housing as there is no profit in it  and there is little support for landlords to get into the business. In some cities there is a mandate that developers have to provide a certain low percentage of low income housing and of course if you talk to them about it here they are not interested in it. If you are young and homeless there are options- if you are over 50 like myself it is a big issue.
I know we can’t pull rabbits out of our hats- but surely something can be done. I see the County’s next step is a 20 unit apt building in Carleton Place– but it’s not enough and surely not geared specifically to seniors. My question is– If we can’t do it alone can we not join up with other communities like Mississippi Mills and see if we can do something together– or should we just stop promising future housing?

Thank you

Linda Seccaspina

Basically her answer was there are some things we can do to help, such as tax breaks and lowered development fees, but there is not much funding as cuts, freezes and omissions in the provincial budget have made local social services and low income folks nervous and it’s getting worse — so we just do the best we can. Is this the answer I want to hear? Is this the answer you want to hear? Of course it isn’t but this serious item is on our agenda-trust me. All of us care and will do what we can.

Why is Almonte ahead?

Rose Mary Sarsfield added:  Mississippi Mills probably started sooner to solve the senior issues problem. Jeff Mill’s father and ACDC  (Almonte Community Development Corporation) and the Hub and were solving the issues of housing for low income and seniors in the 1970s. But the growing community brings in more needs. So many people who come to live here from elsewhere want to have their aging parents nearby. Fortunately Orchard View has taken some of that strain.

Marjorie Gaw–Before the building of Town And Country there was just a board of Community minded volunteers, who had skills and knowledge and a vision…There had been a fire in what was then referred to as Irish Town and a whole family perished, I think they had nine children…there were no town services in that area. People had to get their drinking water from the old water tower… This tragedy led these community minded people to work together to develop what became Town and Country Apartments …They called themselves Almonte Community Builders (I think) they managed to connect with Algonquin College and through that they developed the skills require to access Government Funding… Now this is just a skeleton of how it was done…but those people were brilliant and determined, and successful Marie Seaman,Stan Mills, Herb Pragnell, John Levi, Senior, are names that come to mind…Karen Slater became the first employee. The symbol on the Mills logo represents “out of the ashes” and refers to the fire. As a fairly early employee of the Mills, we were all extremely proud of the history. Someone who has the history can fill in the blanks but this is just what I can remember. I apologize for the names I have missed. This Board of Directors did much more than establish Town and Country Apartments…which you will find in the history books if you are interested in them. This accounting is strictly from my memory as a past employee of ACDC/ The Mills. But this will probably answer you question as to why Almonte got into public housing early.

 

 

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

relatedreading

Missing Food- A Real-Life Scary Tale

Tragedy of the 60s — Cole Family Fire

Relief of the Destitute Poor in Ireland — Names Names Names