It was a trip down memory lane this weekend for hundreds of former residents of Bathurst Manor, a Toronto neighbourhood that was built starting in 1954 on the northern limit of the city. The Manor, as it’s fondly known, became home to scores of Holocaust survivors—and also Canadian-born Jewish families looking for space, greenery and safety in single-family homes that cost less than $25,000. It’s estimated that of the 9,000 people who moved in, 7,000 were Jewish.
During the pandemic, the Ontario Jewish Archives collected stories and artifacts from the generation of Baby Boomers who grew up in Bathurst Manor. And on May 28, the archives threw a block party at the Prosserman JCC to launch their new exhibit. Visitors strolled past a series of panels showing landmarks such as “The Plaza”, where the Dominion grocery store was (later Sunnybrook); the nearby Wilmington Park with its playground, swimming pool and tennis courts; and the Forest Valley day camp, which attracted nearly a thousand kids every summer in the ravine south of Finch Avenue West and Bathurst.
Organizers and former residents tell The CJN Daily why Bathurst Manor was unique: because nearly everyone was Jewish, many spoke Yiddish, it was cut off from the rest of the city by geography, and it felt like a safe shtetl for immigrants from wartime Europe to begin new lives.
What we talked about
- Read more about the Bathurst Manor exhibition at the Ontario Jewish Archives website
- When the Bathurst Manor Plaza closed for good, in The CJN from 2016
- Our CEO Yoni Goldstein’s memories of the Manor, from The CJN, in 2016
The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To subscribe to this podcast, please watch this video. Donate to The CJN and receive a charitable tax receipt by clicking here.