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Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada Mount St. Joseph Centre fonds
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This series contains newspaper clippings which detail the opening of Mount St. Joseph Centre. The November 27, 1962 Hamilton Spectator article entitled, “Disturbed Children Find Haven” offers a detailed account of the Centre, including a description of the kinds of boys who benefited from the treatment provided. It also gives information about the physical home, including that it had a game and TV room, a gymnasium, and a baseball field. The scrapbook offers further newspaper clippings. The reports offer a look into the history, mission, methodology, and programs of Mount St. Joseph. The series includes a 1963 brief prepared for by the Minister of Public Welfare. This report outlines the community’s need and demand for the centre. It also discusses specifics of the program, such as health and education. There are two 1962 pamphlets issued by the Catholic Health and Welfare Services that discuss the staff of the Centre. A photocopy of the original 1960 charter, as well as policies and by-laws also comprise this series, including an admission policy that explains the criteria to be met in order for a child to be admitted. Only boys between the ages of six and twelve and no child with an I.Q. of less than 80 were accepted. The by-laws explain certain rules of the centre, including the terms and responsibilities of the directors. The 1968 Provisions for Educational Services report details the proposal to affiliate with the Separate School Board. This request was made after the Revised Mental Health Act of 1968 neglected to include educational services in their funding to residential care facilities.An interpretation of the program for the board of directors provides a snapshot of the policies, procedures, and assessments of the centre. There is correspondence between 1959 and 1962, including a 1961 letter from O. Weininger, Treatment Director and Consultant at the Centre, discussing the challenges experienced as a result of the transition between orphanage and treatment centre. There are also letters to and from the Child Welfare League of America regarding a survey made for the Laidlaw Foundation of Toronto. The Charitable Institutions Act of 1944 is included in this series. Mount St. Joseph was incorporated under the stipulations of this Act.Also included is a presentation to the Executive Committee, Social Planning Division, and Hamilton United Services concerning the results of a survey to other Children’s Aid Societies regarding the care of children in the province. A 1971 licence produced under the Children’s Mental Health Centres Act also comprises this series. This licence stipulates that no more than 17 children were authorized to live at the Centre. Finally, the series contains material about using Mount St. Joseph as a senior day centre, such as objectives of the program, job summaries, and materials produced by the Ad Hoc Planning Committee.


This sub-series contains lease agreements, and correspondence discussing the lease agreements, rental fees, and insurance information, as well as material related to renovations. There are many documents pertaining to renovations for the years 1982 and 1983, including correspondence, invoices, fire safety and hydro documents, and job site meeting minutes. The subseries also include invitations and programs for the official opening ceremony of Mount St. Joseph after renovations were completed. An opening address by Sister Ann Marshall is also included in which she details the history of Mount St. Joseph. The 1979 “Learning How to Learn: A Guide to Cool School,” discusses features of the program, provides a log book, and explains the four phases of education students must progress through at the school.


This series contains correspondence about the relocation of the centre. An attached news release about the move is found at the back of the April 28, 1977 letter from Executive Director Garry Stuart to Sister Martina. There is an invitation for a ceremony to celebrate the purchase of the school which would later become the new centre. An update on the Centre’s relocation outlines major program changes, the reason for the name change, area services, program emphasis, and a projected schedule. The series also contains an invitation, brochures, and the first annual meeting’s itinerary. Finally, there is a 1979 legal document formalizing the name change from Mount St. Joseph Centre to Woodview Children’s Centre.

Cool School

The Cool School was founded by Dr. Jim Anderson in 1971. Dr. Anderson was a medical professor at McMaster University. He studied learning disabilities in youth and spent his career providing alternative education to troubled youth. He was very progressive in his views. He spent time working with youth who had drug problems. He posted their bail, testified on their behalf in court, and made himself available to assist them in other ways. His actions with those deemed “criminals” by society made him a polarizing figure. He believed that drugs were a symptom of a much larger problem instead of being a problem in their own right. He won several awards for his efforts, including the Citizen of the Year Award (1975) and the Lamp of Learning Award presented by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation.

The Cool School began in 1971. At first, Dr. Anderson counselled troubled youth and youth with learning disabilities in his home. When this was no longer viable due to space constraints, he moved his operation into an unoccupied building at Chedoke Hospital. After receiving an increase in funding the school moved into a much larger building in the hospital (renamed Chedoke-McMaster Hospitals in 1979), before moving to Mount St. Joseph in 1982.The Cool School leased the first two floors of Mount St. Joseph. Renovations were undertaken by the Sisters to accommodate the Cool School, and to upgrade the third floor where Sisters remained in residence. Apart from living in the same building, the Sisters were not involved with the Cool School.

By 1975, 15 Cool School graduates attended university despite their lack of formal high school credits. By 1977, two former students made the Dean’s Honour Roll at McMaster University and one went on to complete graduate studies.

The school assisted youth who were unable to cope with traditional education. Teenagers between the ages of 13 and 19 attended the school. These youth were referred to the school by medical or educational professionals or parents. In total, 81 males and 42 females attended the school between 1971 and 1976. It was reported that of this number, 35% were recorded as having a major improvement.

The school did not teach a traditional curriculum. Instead it had “four phases” that students completed in order to graduate. These phases were communication, history of ideas, the community, and correlation. The communication phase helped students build a solid foundation to help them with the rest of their studies. This included skills in critical reading, creative writing, and listening and speaking skills. The history of ideas phase taught students about history, sociology, philosophy, anthropology, and economics. The community phase involved students spending one week apprenticing at different jobsincluding with the clergy, banks, social agencies, factories, stores, and schools. The correlation phase had students fill in gaps in their knowledge and enabled them to prepare for the future. Emphasis was placed on self-reliance, budgeting time, developing social skills, and self-esteem in each phase. Students had to track their own progress. Class time consisted of small tutorials of five to eight students, where they shared ideas. The Cool School’s philosophy emphasized respect and belief in each child, and was based on Glasser’s reality theory.

This series consists of material related to the Cool School lease agreement with the Sisters of St. Joseph, discussion of the school’s philosophy on alternative youth education, and, invoices, tenders, and building requests. Also included are opening ceremony invitations and an address by Sister Ann Marshall. Finally, Mount St. Joseph School committee meeting minutes also make up this series.

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