50-52 Peter Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

In around 1909, Barnardo's moved its Canadian headquarters in Toronto from Farley Avenue to new premises at 50-52 Peter Street (now Blue Jays Way), Toronto. The building had previously housed Mrs Nixon's Ladies School.

Under Barnardo's tenure, the establishment continued in its role of receiving boys being emigrated to Canada, who were then placed out in situations, supervised, visited and corresponded with.

In 1913, the Rev, W.J. Mayers made a tour of Canada with a group of ten musical boys from Barnardo's UK homes. They are pictured below outside the Peter Street premises, together with its superintendent Alfred de Brissac Owen and other staff.

Mr A.B. Owen, Peter Street staff, Rev W.J. Mayers and boys, Toronto, c.1913. © Peter Higginbotham

Owen was subsequently dismissed by Barnardo's after a number of revelations came to light about his conduct, most seriously that he had had improper relationships with girls that were in Barnardos' care, at least one of whom had become pregnant by him.

The First World War brought emigration to a halt and the property stood empty for a period. The establishment was re-opened after the war, now in the charge of John Hobday and his wife Rose. In 1922, however, it relocated to new premises on Jarvis Street.

The Peter Street building, looking semi-derelict, was still standing in recent years but its current status is unknown.

50-52 Peter Street, Toronto, c.2010. © Peter Higginbotham

Records

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Bibliography