The people we serve have rich stories of their own that they generously allow us to share from time to time. Here are some of those stories.

Rules of The Home

by Monica Hammond

As the number of children being cared for grew, the people running The Home realized that a strict set of rules was needed. By the mid 1880s, a list of 21 rules governed the children’s behaviour.

The children were to be taught the 3 R’s along with sewing and general household affairs. Domestic work was “a most important part of their education”. (Home: pg 45). They were to be taught to wash clothing and dishes, scrub floors, and attend to the younger children.

Scripture readings were to be held every morning and evening, and Grace was to be said before and after each meal. The children were to go to church every Sunday morning, and attend Sunday School at The Home every Sunday afternoon. Children were to be allowed visitors from 2-5 on Saturday afternoon, and at other times with special permission. Permission was also needed if friends wanted to take the children off the grounds.

Each child was to have a bath at least once a week (with warm water and soap!), along with daily cleaning.

Girls who left The Home to establish themselves in the community were to be welcomed back. If they came back, though, they were to be kept separate from the other children in case they had been influenced by negative behaviour in the community.

Having a set of rules meant that The Home could operate well and fairly, and continue to provide much-needed services to children in Victoria.

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.

Boxing Day Parade, 1873

by Monica Hammond

The British Columbia Protestant Orphans’ Home was successful in raising money to operate the Home. On Boxing Day 1873, it held a fundraiser of a different sort.

“Disguising themselves with masks and fantastic clothes [some gentlemen] procured a small cart, and harnessing a donkey, proceeded to collect subscriptions from passers along the street. In the cart one of the party rode and turned the crank of an organ, grinding out notes…The side of the wagon was embellished with clever drawings descriptive of orphan children, and the donkey wore a blanket on which was inscribed ‘Charity covereth a multitude of sins!’ The get-up caused many a hearty laugh and the ‘quarters and halves’ rattled into the boxes right merrily.” (Home: pg. 44)

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.

The Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes

by Gyneth Turner

You won’t notice them until you look closely… Rae has kaleidoscope eyes.  Pretty shades of brown, like the fizzy buzz of root beer, the darker hue of bitter-sweet chocolate, and the golden flecks of a cat’s eye.  Surrounding her pupils are geometric triangles of colour and sparkle, kaleidoscope eyes.

Look Closely

Or you will miss all the subtle details of colour and shape, you won’t see the animation in those beautiful, unique and complex eyes.  You will miss out on seeing something rare and beautiful.

Who is Rae Thomson?

Rae is a young adult, freshly graduated from high school, who did a volunteer practicum with us last spring.  Rae proved to be a master at document disposal, shredding the detritus of written work that was no longer needed by staff at The Cridge Centre for the Family.  We were very happy when Rae agreed to return to The Cridge Centre this Fall to continue her work.  Rae receives a monthly honorarium for her service.  In addition to her kaleidoscope eyes, Rae is unique in that she has part of a third copy of chromosome 21, as a result of a chromosomal re-arrangement known as a Robertsonian translocation; this is one of the chromosomal arrangements which leads to Down syndrome.

In Rae’s Words

Rae says the best thing about her job is meeting new people.  The hardest part of her job is fixing one of the temperamental shredders that has a tendency to jam.  Rae says that she likes to tell people that she has an amazing boss.  She knows that she brings many skills to her work, such as her deep understanding of the confidential nature of document shredding, and that she takes her job very seriously.  She plans to save her money so that she can enjoy taking her friends or parents out to dinner, a movie, or a hockey game.

Not Just for Orphans

by Monica Hammond

The children who lived at The British Columbia Protestant Orphans’ Home were not just those who had no living parents. Single mothers and grandparents who simply were unable to provide care would bring the children to The Home. They knew that at The Home, the children would receive the care they needed.

The fledgling community in and around Victoria rallied around the children and The Home. Donations of clothing, milk, jam, fruit, vegetables, eggs, flour, firewood, books and baby bottles came regularly. (Home: pp. 43-44)

Even today, The Cridge Centre for the Family is enriched by the generous support that the community provides. We thank you for that support, which allows us in turn to support so many members of our community through our programs.

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.

Gorge Vale Golf Club Gives Great Golf Gift

by Candace Stretch

It is amazing when unexpected doors open to the families we serve. In the spring we were approached by Andy Reljic, who runs the youth programs at Gorge Vale Golf Club. A member of the golf club had sponsored 5 youth golf memberships, and he wanted to offer them to our Cridge youth.

Three of our teenage boys, all from our Dovetail Program, took advantage of this and attended the Gorge Vale youth golf program this summer. The boys are all from families who have been impacted by domestic violence and have faced many difficult life circumstances in their past. These boys are each a treasured part of our Cridge community.

Each of these boys were incredibly engaged in the program- they went to the Course regularly, attended training sessions, and participating in golf tournaments. One of these boy is now working as a caddy at Victoria Golf Course due to a connection he made while on the course! The other two recently went to Bear Mountain for the PGA tournament that was happening there… and even met Graham DeLaet, the famous Canadian golfer. It was a joy to get their updates, and see how the ripple effects of this program were impacting their lives.

This open door has created wonderful opportunities for these 3 boys! We are thankful to God and to the amazing people at Gorge Vale Golf Club!

 

The Early Days of The Home

by Monica Hammond

Many of the men who came through Victoria on their way to the Fraser River gold rush left children behind. The Sisters of St. Ann took in 161 orphans in the first ten years after coming to Victoria in 1858. They continued to support the growing number of homeless children into the 1870s (Home: pg. 40).

Edward and Mary Cridge, seeing the growing number of children needing help, worked with other members of the Protestant Church to establish the British Columbia Protestant Orphans’ Home. They spread the word in the community, including the need for financial support. In August 1873 over 1000 people went to a fundraiser for the orphanage. That November, The Home opened its doors in a cottage on the corner of Blanshard and Rae Streets (Home: pg 41).

This was the beginning of what is now The Cridge Centre for the Family. Our main building proudly bears the orphans’ home name, and the year it was founded: 1873.

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.

scarlet fever

Scarlet Fever in Fort Victoria

by Monica Hammond

Scarlet fever hit Victoria in 1864 and 1865. Mary and Edward Cridge lost four children during that tragic time: Frederick, who was a 10-month-old baby when he died; Edward, aged 7 years; Eber, who was 6 years old; and little Grace, aged two.

A few years later, in 1868, many children in Victoria were once again dying of communicable diseases. Even though the Cridges were no doubt still grieving the loss of four of their own children three years earlier, they offered comfort to the families who were now losing children to disease.

The Cridges’ remaining children were also battling illness – colds, measles, and whooping cough. Their daughter Rhoda was especially ill, suffering from convulsions. She survived, along with her brother Richard. The Cridges went on to have three more children.

The resilience of Mary and Edward Cridge through these difficult times is a true testament to their faith and determination, which manifested itself in so many ways during the early years of the city of Victoria.

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.

Blue Sheet Club

by Greg Goldberg — Founder of The Blue Sheet Club

The Blue Sheet Club is a group that meets weekly at Mary Cridge Manor, and is a program of The Cridge Centre for the Family Brain Injury Services. At The Blue Sheet Club, we strive to improve the quality of life for those impacted by brain injury. We look to provide strategies to improve their abilities after an injury.

A guideline for The Blue Sheet Club is that survivors are to be respected and honored for the challenges they are dealing with and be provided with strategies to realize their untapped potential to live as accepted individuals while being a part of a strong, loving and understanding community.

Pat Day is a survivor who is striving as a result of his participation at the Blue Sheet Club. Pat, 62, is a stroke survivor who suffers from apraxia (a speech disorder in which a person has trouble saying what he wants to say correctly and consistently) and is paralyzed on the right side of his body, seriously impairing his mobility.

For several years, Pat has been participating in The Blue Sheet Club.  As a recipient of this service, he has improved immensely through social interaction and taking part in a variety of field trips with other survivors, developing strong friendships along the way. He has regained confidence as his social skills and speech improve, making it easier to communicate his thoughts and desires.

“Coming to the Blue Sheet Club on a regular basis keeps me busy and productive. That wouldn’t happen if I stayed at home all day.” says Pat.

As well, Pat has experienced a vast improvement in his reading skills. When asked about further pursuing his reading goals, he commented, “I hope to get more comfortable reading aloud because reading to myself now is a cinch. Practice, practice, practice.”

As no two brain injuries are alike, survivors experience different impairments, strengths and / or deficits.  At The Cridge Centre for the Family Brain Injury Services – Blue Sheet Club, we support survivors where they are at.  They may be encountering challenging physical, mental and / or emotional impairments.  No matter.  The only thing that members of The Blue Sheet Club need to do is participate, share their smiles and thoughts of new hope, and be inspired for their recovery which will lead to a productive life once again.  And as Pat has demonstrated despite challenging setbacks, with the right attitude, all survivors of a brain injury can succeed.

 

 

 

Racism in early Victoria

by Monica Hammond

35 Africans who were on board the steamship Commodore, which pulled into Victoria Harbour in April 1858, decided to make Victoria their home. Edward Cridge visited the ship and discovered that one of the families was Christian. He invited them to join his congregation at Christ Church.

This shocked some of the members of the congregation. One letter to the editor of the Gazette referred to the parishioners being insulted “by crowding negro men into the same seats with white and respectable women” (The Home: p. 27). Other angry letters to the editor followed, some submitted anonymously.

Edward Cridge responded, in his own letter to the editor, saying that he thought little of racist statements and that he would say so in any discussion promoting racism.

Actions like these, which weren’t popular with everyone, show that Edward and Mary Cridge were determined to champion the rights of all residents of their new community of Victoria.

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.

Royal Jubilee Hospital

The Cridges and the Royal Jubilee Hospital

by Monica Hammond

Edward Cridge was involved in the earliest days of what is now the Royal Jubilee Hospital. In 1858 a sick man was found lying on a mattress in the Cridges’ garden. Edward and his wife Mary cared for him, and realized that there was a need in their community for a medical facility. Edward made use of his connections in the community to open a care centre in Blinkhorn’s, a rented cottage at the corner of Yates and Broad Streets in downtown Victoria. Governor James Douglas helped to fund it. The number of patients at Blinkhorn’s  grew quickly, and the facility moved to a building on the Songhees Reserve. These were the simple beginnings of what is now the Royal Jubilee Hospital.

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.