by Monica Hammond
The time around Christmas was special at the British Columbia Protestant Orphans’ Home. Food, decorations and donations were always in abundance around Christmas. Many service clubs, like the Elks Lodge, the Junior Chamber of Commerce, the Harmony Club, the Salvation Army and the Shrine Club, took part. Even now The Cridge Centre receives support all year long from so many service clubs, and we are very grateful for their help.
Between 1940 and 1960, Government House held an annual Christmas party for the children at The Home. The children would fill out toy lists, and the Lieutenant Governor and his wife would buy a toy for each child so that they had something under the tree at the Government House Christmas party.
One resident remembered Christmas this way: “Christmas was a big event. There were many special times during this season of the year, including a party at Government House with clowns, balloons, candy, presents and a nice supper. . . We hung our stockings on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day Santa arrived handing out all the gifts from under the huge Christmas tree. For deprived children it was an unbelievably happy time and we had corn flakes for breakfast.”
This piece is based on the work of Vernon Storey, Terry Worobetz and Henry Kennedy in their book The Home: Orphans’ Home to Family Centre: 1873 to 1998. Copies of the book are available for purchase at The Cridge Centre for the Family.