And Neither Have I Wings to Fly
Labelled and Locked Up in Canada’s Oldest Institution

Inanna Publications & Education Inc. 2013



To order book:

1. Directly from Inanna Publications.

2. In-store or online at Chapters/Indigo.

3. Online from Amazon

4. In Orillia, Ontario area:
Manticore Books,  1-705-326-7776

Mentally defective children should be separated from the normal at an early age, and what better place to send them than the Orillia asylum?
— Dr Helen MacMurchy, Inspector for the Feeble-Minded in Ontario, 1905-1919.

Daisy Lumsden and other members of her family, labelled “feeble-minded”, were committed for life to the provincial institution in Orillia, Ontario, formerly known as the Asylum for Idiots and Feeble-Minded and Ontario Hospital School, today called Huronia Regional Centre.

Their experience inside the wards and cottages of the institution, and the struggle for their release makes for disturbing reading. A well-researched expose of the sexual, psychological, and physical abuse of vulnerable children with intellectual disabilities, and the denial of their civil rights. Daisy and her family are unwittingly caught up in a genetic “survival of the fittest”, that pitted the “fit” against the “unfit”. But who are the “unfit”? And who decides?

Read excerpt >


...a work of great passion and determination ... meticulous research.
— Patricia Maunder, Reviewer, 'A Sorry State: Two new books shed light on institutional abuse and pain.' Quill & Quire. July/August, 2013.

Toronto writer Thelma Wheatley has given imaginative life to a largely forgotten chapter in Canadian history … By juxtaposing the profoundly marginalized lives of the Lumsden and Hewitt kin with those of the politicians, professionals and public administrators whose judgements doomed Daisy and her relations, Wheatley renders the broader story profoundly personal and underscores the deep injustice of this history.
— Megan J. Davies, Ass. Professor of Social Science, York University: "The Hidden Tragedy of Orillia: History From The Dark Side Junk, science, injustice and the value of public memory." Canadian Literary Review, Vol. 21, No. 7. September 2013.