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Cyril Greenland was a, social worker, co-founder of the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry (now the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health), professor at McMaster University, government advisor, researcher and author of a number of books. His thoughts on child welfare, the rights of the blind, and humane treatment of the mentally ill created a lasting change in Canadian social policy. Born 20 December 1919, to Henry and Annie (née Levy) Grundland, Cyril was the second of five children in an impoverished Jewish family living in Bethnal Green in London’s East End. Henry Grundland abandoned the family and Cyril’s mother struggled to feed her brood. Yet she never turned away anyone in even greater need. Annie, who had a great influence on him, suffered from chronic depression and died in 1949 in a mental hospital, of liver cancer.
Greenland left home at 16 to become an apprentice watchmaker, but later managed to take a degree in social work at the London School of Economics, and much later a PhD at the University of Birmingham. It was while he was at LSE that he changed his name to Greenland. He worked at various hospitals in England, ending up at Crichton Royal Hospital in Dumfries, Scotland, where he met Jane Donald, a psychiatric nurse. They married and started a family that was to include five children. They moved to Canada in 1958 when Greenland became director of social work at the provincial psychiatric hospital in Whitby, ON. He joined McMaster University in 1970 at the School of Social Work studying child abuse, criminal violence, and mental disorders. He retired in 1989. He was diagnosed with leukemia and lymphoma in 2002 and died in 2012.