Established in 1973, the Ontario Jewish Archives, Blankenstein Family Heritage Centre (OJA) is the principal repository for the records of Ontario’s Jewish community.
Conservation / Preservation:
The OJA has worked in partnership with Heritage Toronto on an initiative that saw 14 sites of Jewish importance recognized in the city with official heritage plaques. In the summer of 2015, the OJA worked to ensure the safe removal of the Mandel’s Creamery glass window at 29 Baldwin Street that featured original Yiddish writing, saving this historic remnant of Yiddish culture in the Kensington Market area from destruction.
The archives contains over 1,670 linear metres of textual records documenting the activities of Jewish organizations, institutions and individuals; over 60,000 photographs; 400 oral histories; 2,000 blueprints and drawings created by some of Ontario’s most notable Jewish architects; unpublished histories of Jewish communities in Ontario; Yiddish, Hebrew, and English language newspapers; and the Toronto and London Jewish Directories.
Some of the larger fonds include:
- Act to End Violence Against Women (formerly Jewish Women International)
- Benjamin Brown (architect)
- Board of Jewish Education (Toronto)
- Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care
- Canadian Jewish Congress, Ontario Region
- Canadian Jewish News
- Jewish Community Centre of Toronto
- Jewish Family and Child
- Jewish Immigrant Aid Services of Toronto
- Jewish Vocational Services of Toronto
- Men’s Clothing Manufacturers’ Association of Ontario
- National Council of Jewish Women of Canada
- Rabbi Nachman Shemen
- Toronto Haddasah-WIZO
- United Jewish Appeal Federation of Greater Toronto
- Zionist Organization of Canada
Other fonds relate to synagogues, families, politicians, and photographers’ collections.
Works in collaboration with university departments at York University and University of Toronto on research assignments. Provides information literacy sessions to school groups from elementary to university level.
Occasional exhibits dedicated to telling the history of Jewish communities and prominent Jewish individuals in Ontario.
PowerPoint presentations and workshops about various aspects of Ontario’s Jewish history, given to historical societies, clubs and lodges, student groups and sometimes to coincide with an exhibition, intended for wide circulation.
Regular historical walking tours of Kensington Market and Pape Avenue Cemetery.
This institution accepts volunteers. Volunteers undergo training in archival practice and assist in the arrangement and description of archival materials as well as other curatorial and research-based tasks. This institution regularly accepts interns from the University of Toronto iSchool and Ryerson University.
Address & Contact Information:
Ontario Jewish Archives, Blankenstein Family Heritage Centre
4600 Bathurst St.
Hours of Operation:
Monday – Thursday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. ; Friday hours vary by season. Researchers must make an appointment before visiting the archives.
Key Words: religion, migration