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.