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No Ocean too Wide By Carrie Turansky


November 7, 2019

Between the 1860s and 1930s, poor and orphaned children were sent to Canada as British Home Children. More than 118,000 were sent from England to Canada with the theory that they would receive training as farmers or house maids and have a better life. Some were successful. Some were not.

Carrie Turansky introduces us to the McAlister family. Mr. McAlister was killed in a train accident. That left Mrs. McAlister, 21-year-old Laura, 14-year-old twins Katie and Garth and 7-year-old Grace. Mrs. McAlister took a job with a seamstress but that was not enough to provide for the family. Laura took on a job on a large estate far away from home. Garth took a job as a delivery boy for the butcher.

When Mrs. McAlister became gravely ill and had to go to the hospital, the youngest three were left alone at home. When a policeman found out that the children were living alone, the children were taken to children's homes. This was the first time Katie and Garth were separated. The boys were housed in a separate building. Katie was determined to keep close to Grace.

When Laura heard that her mother was ill, she hurried home. Unfortunately, she was too late to save the children from going to the homes. She was determined to find the children and bring them home.

Henry Dowd and Andrew Frasier are lawyers who were commissioned by the Office of the Home Secretary to write a report about the child emigration. They were to make recommendations as to the care of the children and the effectiveness of the program. They would tour the homes and observe the conditions in the homes. They would also follow up on children who were placed in homes in Canada. While working on their report, the men met up with Laura and agreed to assist her in finding her siblings and seeing that they get home. Laura makes some bad decisions while trying to find her siblings but she learns from her mistakes.


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