Benjamin Brown (ca. 1888-1974) was the first practicing Jewish architect in Toronto. Born in what is now Lithuania, he arrived in Toronto at an early age and soon after, quit school to take a job in a garment manufacturing factory to help out his impoverished family. Not finding this career to his liking, Brown enrolled in the Ontario School of Art and Design with the intention of becoming an artist. When this profession proved financially unfeasible, Brown decided to pursue a career in architecture. After completing his high school equivalency, he enrolled in the University of Toronto architectural program, graduating in 1913. Soon after, Brown opened up a practice with fellow architect Robert McConnell, which lasted until the early 1920s. After the partnership ended, Brown set up an independent practice, which he maintained until his retirement in 1955.
Scope and Content
The fonds documents Brown’s design work and renovations of existing buildings through his original drawings, renderings, and building blueprints. The fonds consists of approximately 1500 drawings that are organized into about 150 projects. These projects include single-family residences, apartment buildings, commercial and industrial buildings, as well as synagogue and other community buildings. Many of Brown's buildings were designed in the Art Deco style, with some containing Georgian, Craftsman, Colonial Revival, Tudor and Romanesque elements.
Brown's most important commissions include the Beth Jacob Synagogue located on Henry Street, which was one the largest synagogues in Toronto, and the Balfour Building, an office tower built in the Art Deco style. The designs of Mendel Granatstein’s mansion, which contained a retractable roof for Sukkoth, and a colour sketch of the Primrose Club, which is currently the University of Toronto Faculty Club, may also be of interest to researchers. The fonds also includes some of Brown's files containing articles and illustrations from architecture and design journals of the early twentieth century, which he used as a resource to assist him with his work.
Fonds includes six photographs, one of the Balfour Building, one of Cumberland Hall, and four of Brown as a young man.
Architectural plans of a lead mine in Burnt River Ontario have been sent to the Kawartha Lakes Archives.
The Island Yacht Club (IYC) was founded in 1951 by a small group of Jewish sailing enthusiasts at a time when Jewish applicants were denied membership to Toronto's yacht clubs. The founding members included Cecil Yolles, Dr. Bernard “Bunny” Willinsky, Ben Dunkelman, John Bussin, Eon Gilmore, Mel and Irving Gould, Mark Speyer, Norm Kerzner, Joe Kitz, Boris Adelberg, and Bill Ackerman. The group obtained a lease from the City of Toronto for a parcel of undeveloped land on Mugg's Island in Blockhouse Bay. They then obtained a provincial charter incorporating the Island Yacht Club as a non-profit corporation. A board of directors was elected, with Bunny Willinsky as its first Commodore.
In 1952, the original group had grown to approximately 35 members. Work parties were formed from among the members to clear the land and a prefabricated building was purchased by the club which served as the early clubhouse. A generator was donated by member Al Jacobs for electricity and two floating docks were built. As the club membership grew, more land was acquired; the original clubhouse was expanded; grounds were landscaped; a swimming pool, lockers, dining room, lounge, docks, and marine railway were installed; and a tender was purchased. By 1956, the membership had grown to 350 with a fleet of eighty sail and power boats and the IYC was accepted into the Lake Yacht Racing Association (LYRA), the oldest association of its kind in North America.
In 1957, the IYC hosted its first open sailing regatta for the seven Toronto area yacht clubs and has since hosted many other regattas including four LYRA events. In order to accommodate its more junior members, a Junior Sailing Club was founded by Commodore John Zeldin in 1958, which has played a large role in the development of the IYC. In 1964, an adult sailing program was instituted to teach members and non-members racing tactics and rules. Racing competitions have been an important part of the IYC’s history. IYC sailors have been members of Canada’s Olympic sailing team and have competed in the Pan-American Games, Maccabiah Games, CORK regattas and other competitions in Canada and the United States.
Over the years, the purpose of the IYC has changed from a racing club that has developed champion sailors, to a more recreational club, oriented to family and leisurely activities. The IYC has also played a large social role in the lives of its membership, hosting galas, auctions, fashion shows, theme nights, bowling events, anniversary parties, the Commodore's Ball, and other activities during both the sailing season and off-season months.
The IYC has suffered from two fires in its fifty-five year history. The first fire occurred in 1986 in the IYC’s boat yard, destroying several boats. The second fire occurred in 2004 and destroyed the IYC’s clubhouse and its contents. A new clubhouse was officially opened on June 18th, 2006 and the IYC continues to serve its members in boating, socializing, dining, and marine services.
The records were donated to the OJA by Brooky Robins, archivist for the Island Yacht Club. Brooky and her husband, Hartley, are both members of the IYC. Hartley Robins has been a member since 1956 and was commodore from 1973 to 1976.
Scope and Content
Fonds documents the various functions and activities of the Island Yacht Club. The records include correspondence, financial records, meeting minutes, invitations, program flyers, year books, photographs, slides, films, flags, tickets and tokens, drawings, clippings, bulletins and newsletters, racing programmes and calendars, as well as the files of founding member, Cecil Yolles, and member and past commodore, Hartley Robins. The fonds also includes the original letters patent for the IYC.
Physical description note: includes ca. 600 b&w and col. photographs, ca. 400 col. slides, 5 flags, 3 film reels, 2 videocassettes, 1 architectural plan, 1 sketch, and 1 compact disc.
Storage location note: Box 8 (3" Letter Hollinger), 504 col. slides plus 2 b&w photos
Island Yacht Club
See also fonds 2, Benjamin Dunkelman fonds, series 1 and sub-series 1-4 for textual records and photographs pertaining to the IYC
See also fonds 37, Gilbert Studios fonds, series 4-1, item 18, for photo of IYC member Mr. William Bernard Herman
See "Island Yacht Club" vertical file in OJA file cabinet for newspaper clippings
5593 photographs, 25 x 20 cm and smaller, and other media
The Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of Toronto was incorporated in Ontario in March 1917 to coordinate the fundraising activities of Jewish charitable, philanthropic, and social service agencies in Toronto. In 1918, ten separate agencies were funded by the FJPT. By 1937, fourteen agencies were funded. The Great Depression of the 1930s and the development of several newer Jewish aid, education, and medical care organizations created both increased need for resources and growing competition for ever-more scarce dollars. Within a very few years this funding crisis forced a major review of the organization.
During 1936 a series of special meetings of leading individuals were held to examine the income and expenditures of all Toronto Jewish agencies and also to speculate about the need for a new Toronto Jewish "Community Chest" as the sole fund-raising organization for a federation of all Jewish agencies including the FJPT. In 1938, the new United Jewish Welfare Fund was formally constituted. Added to the FJPT's previous list of Toronto client agencies in 1938 were: the Canadian Jewish Congress, the Hebrew National Association, the Jewish Immigrant Aid Association, the Mizrachi Society, the Toronto Free Loan Association, the Geverkshaften, and Old Folks Home, and the United Palestine Appeal, raising the total number of agencies to 22.
When the State of Israel was established in 1948, the UJWF's annual fundraising campaign was combined with the CJC's United Palestine appeal to form a new, combined campaign named the United Jewish Appeal (UJA). In 1967, the UJA name was legally changed to the United Jewish Appeal of Metropolitan Toronto.
In mid-1976, the organization's public name was changed to the Toronto Jewish Congress. Although initially thought of as a merger between the UJWF and the CJC, the actual result was the expansion of the UJWF responsibilities to include local education and welfare services previously shared with the Canadian Jewish Congress, Central Region. The UJWF, however, remained the legal senior entity.
In 1991 the public name was again changed to the Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto and in 1999, to UJA Federation of Greater Toronto. By this date, over 30 beneficiary and affiliated agencies, 49 affiliated schools and five Federation departments were fully or partly funded by the UJA Federation.
In June, 2010, the organization altered its legal structure, with the senior legal entity becoming the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of 25 series: Annual Meetings, Annual Reports, Board of Directors, Constitution Committee, Executive Committee, Officers Committee, Budget and Finance Committee, Administration Committee, Social Planning Committee, Committee on Capital Needs and Planning, Central Committee on Scholarships in Aid, Joint Committee of the BJE and UJWF Study on Jewish Education, Nominations Committee, Pension Fund Committee, Coordinating Committee, Special Ad Hoc and Temporary Committees, Annual Campaign, Client Agencies, Joint Committee of the CJC and the UJWF, Committee on Community Organization, Sub-Committee on Construction and Administration of Community Schools, Joint Committee on Fundraising, Personnel Committee, Community Leadership Development Council, and Israel at Fifty Community Celebration.
Over 4500 photographs and a variety of other media are managed within Series 17, Campaign records.
For exact details about the contents of individual series and sub-series, please review their scope and contents notes.
United Jewish Welfare Fund
Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of Toronto
United Jewish Appeal
Toronto Jewish Congress
Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto
UJA Federation of Greater Toronto
Partially closed. Researchers must receive permission from the OJA Director prior to accessing some of the records.
For records of the predecessor of the UJWF, see Fonds 66, the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of Toronto fonds.
Further detailed documentation of the proposed merger between the UJWF and the CJC (creation of the TJC) may be found in Fonds 67, Sub-sub-series 5-5-1, Files 171 and 221.
Further documentation on the United Jewish Welfare Fund may be found within Fonds 9, Series 7, records of the Jewish Immigrant Aid Society.
For further detailed records of a key community leader's involvement with the UJWF see Accession 1982-8-8, the records of Samuel Godfrey, 1943-1972.