Accession consists of textual and graphic material documenting the Cohen family, their immigration to Canada from South Africa and life in Toronto. Textual records include photocopies of correspondence and paperwork relating to the Cohen's immigration, certificates, and a typed document containing humorous stories their South African friends shared at a "10 Years Out Of Africa" party relating to their adjustment to Canadian life. Also included are family portraits and photographs documenting family celebrations such as, weddings and bar mitzvahs. Of note is an image of Vivien and John at the "10 Years Out of Africa" party.
John Cohen was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1944 to Phil and Flora Cohen. Vivien (nee Lehwess) Cohen was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1947 to Henry and Isle (nee Wronsky) Lehwess. John's cousin was in physiotherapy school with Vivien and they were introduced to each other. They married on Dec. 3, 1969 and had three children together: Nicole (b. 1972), Steven (b. 1974), and Jeremy David (1979). Vivien was a physiotherapist and John was a textile sales agent. Due to the unstable political situation in South Africa, they immigrated to North York in March 1977. For the first few weeks, they lived in a rental apartment in North York. They soon moved into a townhouse nearby. In 1980, they bought their first house in Thornhill. They were both able to continue in their professions after immigrating to Canada. Both of their mothers and many of their friends also moved to Toronto. John and Vivien were members of Shaarei Shalom synagogue for twenty-five years and are now members of Darchei Noam.
Accession consists of photographs documenting Martin Charney and his family. Included are portraits of Martin as a child and young man, wedding photographs of Martin's grandparents in Johannesburg (1923), images of Martin's bar mitzvah and weddings, photographs of Matin's family in London en route to Montreal, images of Martin and his family in Montreal, images of Camp Timberlands (New York), images of the Anglo-African Glass Company, images of Martin with his family in South Africa and images of Martin's family at weddings and bar mitzvah's in Toronto. Of note is an image from the dedication of Chabad Lubavitch in Thornill (2011). Identified in the images are: Martin Charney, Jack Frenkel, Doris Levinstein, Max Charney, Leah Charney, Candy Charney, Rabbi Gansberg, and Norman Charney.
Martin was born in Johannesburg in 1947 to Max and Joan Lena (née Frenkel) Charney. He has a younger brother, Norman. Max owned a glass manufacturing business called Anglo-African Glass. In 1963, the family left South Africa and immigrated to Montreal, Canada. They left South Africa because Max anticipated a future of political uncertainty. The family remained in Montreal for 7 years, before returning to South Africa in 1970. During this time, Martin graduated from high school and attended Sir George Williams University (now Concordia) where he studied for a 4 year Bachelor of Commerce Degree. Max built three office buildings in Sherbrooke, Kingston and Valleyfield and had six One Hour Martinizing laudromats. Joan was a Home Maker - never having done domestic work before.
Soon after returning to South Africa in 1970, Martin married Yaffa (née Franco). They had one daughter, Candyce Jasmine. They divorced in 1980. In 1982 Martin married his second wife, Basia (nee Sztrom). They had four children together: Candy, Leah, Avi Jack and Mirelle Feiga. All 5 children were born in Johannesburg. Martin worked as a real estate broker in South Africa and as a finance resource consultant concentrating on factoring accounts receivable in Toronto.
Due to the worsening violence in South Africa, Martin immigrated to Thornhill with his family in 1999. Martin and Basia divorced soon after immigrating here and Martin eventually re-married to a Canadian Judy Rosenberg. Martin continued in the same line of work once he arrived in Canada; however, he had to build his business back up again from scratch. Martin volunteers with a variety of organizations, including: Circle of Care, Tomchei Shabbos, HOD (Hebrew Order of David - Lodge Ramon) and Benjamin's Park Memorial Chapel. He is a member of Chabad Lubavitch at 770 Chabad Gate in Thornhill.