Toronto Orphanages and Day Nurseries

Matron with three orphans

Day Nurseries

In the mid 1800s, philanthropic upper-middle-class ladies were managing the day to day operations of day nurseries. These nurseries provided temporary shelter during the day for the children of mothers who had to find work to support their families. Working fathers boarded their children in cases where the mother had died or was too sick to care for her children. However, illegitimate children were often refused entry.

The nurseries charged modest fees of about ten cents per child per day. Although the fees did not cover costs, they did help with finances. The parents maintained some dignity by paying for the service.

Toronto East End Day Nursery and Settlement

The Nursery was established by members of the Quaker Mission in 1892 and was operated by a board of women directors. For a small fee, the Nursery provided day care and helped mothers find work in domestic and laundry services.

Image - East End Day Nursery Internal
East End Day Nursery, Dundas St. E. north side, between Sackville & Sumach Streets?. Photograph, ca 1903?. Reproduced in East End Day Nursery 12th annual report, 1904, p. 4. S51 and T11846

Image - East End Day Nursery External
East End Day Nursery, River St., w. side, n. of Queen St. E. Photograph, 1904. T 11852