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Mount St. Joseph Centre fonds
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- Graphic material
- Textual record
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- Source of title proper: Title is based on the contents of the fonds.
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Dates of creation area
- Mount St. Joseph Centre
Physical description area
22.05 cm of textual records
5 photographs : b&w
1 scrapbook ; 30 x 26 cm
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Archival description area
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In 1960, Mount St. Joseph Centre opened to treat emotionally disturbed boys. It was located at 354 King Street West, Hamilton, which was the former site of Mount St. Joseph Orphanage, which had been closed by the Sisters of St. Joseph due to the declining number of orphans in residence. A shift in views occurred in the 1950s, and the Welfare Protection Agency began placing more children into foster homes rather than keeping them in large orphanages.
Mount St. Joseph Centre was a private, charitable, and non-denominational organization, operated by a board of directors. The Sisters of St. Joseph sat on the board, along with professionals and laypersons. Sister Eugenia Callaghan was the Administrative Director of the Centre. Other Sisters worked there as teachers and child care workers. All of the Sisters who worked at the centre had living quarters on the third floor.
Due to its success, more space was eventually needed, and in 1975, boys aged 6 to 12 remained at 354 King Street West, while boys aged 13 to 17 moved to 66 Canada Street, otherwise known as “Canada House”.
Mount St. Joseph Centre’s board of directors defined “emotionally disturbed youth” as children who had difficulty adjusting to everyday life, and thus needed special attention. The boys were described as being in conflict with their families, communities, and themselves.
A child entered the centre after first trying community-based, out-patient counselling services. If this treatment did not prove helpful, then a team of representatives from the Children’s Aid Society, Board of Education, Probation and Court Services, treatment centres, counselling services, and the Regional Children’s Centre met to discuss the child’s case. If it was determined that the child’s needs could be better met by residential treatment, they were sent to Mount St. Joseph Centre. It is important to note that children were never taken away from their parents. Instead, the centre offered a place for boys to live and receive treatment. If the child did not have a family, then the Centre worked with the Children’s Aid Society to find an appropriate family for them.
The therapy was based on everyday positive relationships with staff members. If a boy acted out, he was provided with explanations and clarifications about his behaviour, and encouraged to try new responses. This type of therapy was used to instill self-esteem into the child, as well as re-adjust his thinking about how to better respond to social interactions. The children were encouraged to join community activities, like sport clubs.
In 1967, the Department of Health promulgated the White Paper, which outlined the necessity for residential treatment centres. As a result, Mount St. Joseph Centre was accredited as a Schedule IV institution under the Revised Mental Health Act of August, 1968. This Act provided financial support for children in residential treatment centres, but not for additional educational services. In 1971, it was decided that the Public School Board would assume the responsibility for the educational programme at the centre.
On September 5, 1980, Mount St. Joseph Centre moved from 354 King Street to 69 Flatt Street, Burlington. They subsequently changed their name to Woodview Children’s Centre. The Sisters were not involved with the Centre once it moved.
With a now vacant building at 354 King Street, the Sisters put together a committee to determine what to do with the property. There were discussions about creating a seniors’ day centre and also a pastoral care centre for aging priests. The seniors’ day centre was to be in partnership with Providence House, a facility for the care of the aged, which was an institution which had been founded by the Sisters. It does not appear that these projects came to fruition.
In 1982, the Cool School leased two floors of the former Mount St. Joseph Centre. The school offered alternative education to assist troubled youth and those with learning disabilities. Other tenants included a pastoral counselling centre, St. Joseph Hospital Foundation and a bereavement group sponsored by the Sisters.
Scope and content
This fonds contains records produced during the time the Sisters administered and worked at Mount St. Joseph Centre in Hamilton. It also consists of records which were produced by the Woodview Children’s Centre and Cool School in Burlington and Hamilton. These institutions grew out of Mount St. Joseph Centre after it ceased its functions. The records that encompass this collection are of historical importance because they offer a snapshot of special needs education during the latter half of the twentieth century. The fonds consists of bylaws and policies, correspondence, proposals and reports, a scrapbook, meeting minutes, financial records, newspaper clippings, photographs, publications, invitations, addresses, and legal documents.
Immediate source of acquisition
Records transferred from Mount St. Joseph Centre to the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada Archives - Hamilton site, and then to the main archives.
Order has been imposed on the records.
Language of material
Script of material
Location of originals
The records are stored off-site in London, Ontario.
Availability of other formats
Restrictions on access
The Archives reserves the right to restrict access to the collection depending on the condition of the archival material, the amount of material requested, and the purpose of the research. The use of certain materials may also be restricted for reasons of privacy or sensitivity, or under a donor agreement. Access restrictions will be applied equally to all researchers and reviewed periodically. No researcher will be given access to any materials that contain a personal information bank such as donor agreements or personnel records, or to other proprietary information such as appraisals, insurance valuations, or condition reports.
Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication
Permission to study archival records does not extend to publication or display rights. The researcher must request this permission in writing from the Archives.
Series and file list available.
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No further accruals are expected.
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Dates of creation, revision and deletion
July 2, 2020
April 30, 2021