150 Neighbours

Commemorating Canada's 150th Anniversary in Scarborough

Barb Jamieson

The empathy and kindness of 82-year-old Barb Jamieson is reflected in her life story as a social worker for the Catholic Children’s Aid Society, and an advocate for Scarborough’s vulnerable and abused women.

“Don’t be judgmental—allow people to talk and express themselves.”

After graduating from East York High School in 1951, the passionate community development volunteer “wanted to do something valuable.” She created free support groups, operating at public libraries, for young mothers suffering from depression and isolation, and as a welcoming and positive space for their children. The desperate need of girls from abusive homes, who “didn’t have families who loved them,” who had been lured into the underground sex trade, pushed Barb to fight for decent housing, employment opportunities and to question gaps in the mental health system. Aware of discrimination against Scarborough’s disadvantaged and growing minority population, Barb sought to “lower the prejudice” and champion inclusivity through the Multicultural Race Relations Group. As one of the founders of the Scarborough Women’s Centre, and for her ongoing commitment to caring about people in need, Barb received the 125th Confederation Medal from the Governor General of Canada in 1992.

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