Unloved: Huronia’s Forgotten Children

A filmmaker's quest to discover the fate of her disabled brothers uncovers an institution's shocking history of neglect and abuse.
Available on CBC Gem

Unloved: Huronia’s Forgotten Children

documentary Channel

Filmmaker Barri Cohen uncovers the truth about Alfie and Louis, her two long-dead half-brothers in the documentary Unloved - Huronia’s Forgotten Children. They were institutionalized at the Huronia Regional Centre in Orillia in the 1950s, with one brother unceremoniously buried in secret in an unmarked grave as a small child. Their lives were cut short, but their story stands as a microcosm of the immense tragedy of the western world’s 20th-century disastrous treatment of intellectually disabled children and youth. Through the interwoven narratives of a POV family story with key institution survivors, the film asks: how do we allow ourselves to dehumanize the most vulnerable people in our care?

Unloved - Huronia’s Forgotten Children is a heartbreaking yet redemptive film that moves outwards from a highly personal and painful family secret to an investigation of hidden, searing truths about an entire government-enabled system of institutional cruelty and ugliness against vulnerable children. Yet, humanity is restored by assembling community and survivor testimony, along with the filmmaker’s insistence that these experiences be recognized and memorialized.

Premiered on documentary Channel Sun Oct 23, 2022 @ 9pm ET