It is 1908. A lone man stepped onto Canadian soil. An immigrant determined to bring his family one by one from Russia. The Anshel Wise agency helped him, as they had others, to bring these loved ones over one by one.
Unafraid of doing what needs doing they found success in junkyards. One of the children had worked in one as a laborer. Now they opened their own on Maria Street, the same street where they lived in three of the homes. This was in the days that the Junction was called “Muddy York” circa 1915.
Avoiding idleness the mother made stocks of bread, preserves and pickles. This hard work would see their family through the winter. More than that they were known for sharing with the other struggling Jewish families on their Maria Street. Sara Patlick recalled there was no antisemitism in the Junction.
In those days the “jitney”, not streetcar, took you by right home for five cents. You had to be careful getting out as the mud cames “up to your ears”. Electronics like cars, radios nor televisions were around. Instead home entertainment centered around a gramophone, later versions being known as a record player. For a quarter dollar you could pay to have a piano in your home. After school many children tapped away on the keys taking piano lessons. Peretz Shul on Beverley St (first on Crawford) organized concerts and dances. If you wanted to get into a picture show you pulled a nickel out of your pocket.
Aware of their international origins families formed organization where by doing things together they could keep their cultural identity alive. Among the various charity works were efforts for Bloorview Hospital, Princess Margaret, Sick Children’s, Mount Sinai, Jewish Blind, Syrian Jews and emergency funds for the state of Israel.
Among the works was a little house on Maria Street that was the first Junction Shul founded circa 1918, around the end of World War One. When the Shul building became to small they relocated to the present day Junction Shul.
The story of people who combine the finest of being Canadian and being an active party of their original culture.
Researched by Junctioneer, parsed by Laxson.
full sound and transcript from where this short article was adapted at the Ontario Jewish Archives,