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Smiley, C.W. (1975). The Flower Children of Ontario. Am. J. Psychoanal., 35(3):279-283.

(1975). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 35(3):279-283

The Flower Children of Ontario

Charles W. Smiley

In the summer of 1973 an effort was made to provide social work services to a “hippie” counterculture population in Canada. This project was undertaken in a city of 50,000 people located in the province of Ontario.

Because of the city's frontier style, its location in the north, or “strange vibes,” a rather sizeable hippie group developed. This was a new phenomenon. Beginning in early 1973, young people who were disengaging themselves from an active role in society began to move into the area. By the end of the winter several hundred had arrived, most of them living in isolated areas outside the city limits. The majority were unemployed or employed only part time. Some were writers, some were artists, some were merchants of hip ornaments, and some were publishers of hip publications. Others panhandled and many sold drugs.

The hippie movement was and still is characterized by the use of drugs, the espousal of free sex, the elimination of the double standard, and personal philosophies based on love and sharing with the “tribe.” Groups of people shared living quarters and food, sometimes as a manifestation of their philosophy, but also as a result of the limited housing available and the general meagerness of their income. Intellectualism was scorned; “action,” “sensing,” “meditation,” and “Eastern mystic experience” were considered more valuable.

As the winter ended, the hippies living in the area were heralding a coming “summer of love.

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