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St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Winnipeg was opened in 1900 and run by the Sisters of Charity, also known as the Grey Nuns. Before 1906 they were operating out of a small building at 233 Carlton St., next to St. Mary’s Cathedral, where they housed 60 children. They later moved to a 7 acre property on Portage Avenue in St. James in 1907, with room for 75 children but later expanded in 1909. In 1927, 219 children were taken care of in the orphanage by 16 nuns. When the children reached the age of 12, they were sent to either the Mackinac orphanage or a farm in Otterburne to learn trades and farming until they were 17 years old, when appropriate homes were found for them.
Not all children at St. Joseph’s were orphaned; some were children of recent immigrants who had to work so left their children in the care of the sisters. Some children had one living parent but due to the socioeconomic climate, they did not have the resources to support their children. (Keep in mind, no other childcare existed and in some cases no family support. There was also no financial help available for low income families before 1916). The orphanage was partially funded by the government and the city but their contributions were only enough to provide heat. The rest of the funds used to run the orphanage came from donations.
Do you have any ancestors who were in orphanages? OR if you’re from Winnipeg, have you ever heard about St. Joseph’s?
Note: In 1938, St. Joseph’s orphanage was taken over by the Sisters of Providence and re-named St. Joseph’s Vocational School.
(1) St. Joseph’s Vocational School, Winnipeg Then & Now, www.warrenpress.net; original source unknown.
(2) Winnipeg Free Press, Winnipeg, Manitoba, CA November 1, 1937, Page 10 https://newspaperarchive.com/other-articles-clipping-nov-01-1937-1113477/