As early as 1916 the Ezras Noshem Society (a mutual benefit society for Jewish women) started to raise funds to purchase and renovate what would become The Toronto Jewish Old Folks' Home (Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care’s forerunner) after its members recognized the need for a home in Toronto where the Jewish elderly could receive kosher meals and communicate with staff in their own language. Property at 31 Cecil Street was purchased in 1917 and sometime between September 1918 and January 1920 the Home officially opened there. The Home was run by a small staff and the women of Ezras Noshem who volunteered their time to make beds, cook kosher meals, do laundry and sponsor fundraising events. By 1938 the Home had expanded into its neighboring houses at 29, 33, and 35 Cecil Street and was caring for 115 residents. It provided residents with synagogue services, a hospital ward and social activities. At this time the Home also became a member of the United Jewish Welfare Fund.
In 1946, the need for a larger and more modern building prompted a fundraising campaign, which was headed by Abe Posluns, to purchase and build a new facility. In December 1954, the new building opened at 3650 Bathurst Street and consisted of two new institutions: The Jewish Home for the Aged and Baycrest Hospital. This location continued to expand over the years, including a new building for residents in 1968, an apartment building for seniors called the Baycrest Terrace in 1976, and a community centre known as The Joseph E. and Minnie Wagman Centre in 1977. These additions enabled Baycrest to expand its programs to include a day care program, recreational programs, and a Sheltered Workshop which was run in cooperation with the Jewish Vocational Service and provided residents with employment. In 1986 a new Baycrest Hospital was erected, and in 1989, the Rotman Research Institute, which is also affiliated with the University of Toronto, opened to create a research facility where top researchers could study and find new treatment methods for the elderly.
In recent years, Baycrest’s services and programs have continued to expand. In 2000, the Apotex Centre, the Jewish Home for the Aged and the Louis and Leah Posluns Centre for Stroke and Cognition opened to help residents with progressive dementia caused by vascular disorders. In 2001 a condominium building opened at 2 Neptune Drive for seniors, and in 2003 the Sam and Ida Ross Memory Clinic was established to provide out-patient services for seniors with memory disorders. Baycrest Centre also provides numerous cultural and religious programs for the inhabitants and the greater community, including a heritage museum, art exhibits and a Holocaust program.
Records were donated to the OJA in a series of accessions from a variety of sources, including the Baycrest Women's Auxiliary and the Multicultural Historical Society of Ontario.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of records documenting the history, governance, and activities of the Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care. Included are meeting notices, agendas and minutes, correspondence, reports, speeches, photographs, artifacts, constitutions, publications, press releases, financial records, event invitations, programs, a scrapbook, a poster, lists, theatrical scripts, newspaper clippings, brochures and booklets, flyers, a land deed, certificates, schedules, annual calendars, cards, questionnaires, and lists.
Fonds is arranged into eleven series: 1. Board of Directors and Executive Committee; 2. Annual General Meetings and Annual Reports; 3. Committees and meetings; 4. Women's Auxiliary; 5. Men's Service Group; 6. Toronto Jewish Old Folks Home; 7. Programs and services; 8. Religious services; 9. Fundraising; 10. Publications and publicity; and, 11. Events. Records are described to the file level with some item level descriptions.
Associated material note: related material at Library and Archives Canada includes a small Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care fonds, and the Eric Exton fonds. For architectural records see the Irving D. Boigon fonds 243 at the City of Toronto Archives (Boigon was an architect who designed many of Baycrest's buildings between the 1970s and 1990s). Contact Baycrest Centre's Heritage Museum for committee records from the 1930s, and consult Baycrest's website to access electronic copies of current issues of Baycrest's publications.
Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care
Ezras Noshem Society (Toronto, Ont.)
Jewish Home for the Aged (Toronto, Ont.)
Jewish Old Folks Home (Toronto, Ont.)
Old age homes
See Gordon Mendly Fonds 18, series 3-4; Jewish Vocational Services of Toronto fonds 75; United Jewish Welfare Fund fonds 67; accession # 2009-6-2; Dora Till Fonds 52; J. Irving Oelbaum Fonds 24; Jewish Community Centre of Toronto fonds 61, series 1-1; Gilbert Studios fonds 37; Ben Kayfetz fonds 62, series 3, file 3; JFWB fonds 87, series 6, files 5 and 6; JIAS fonds 9, series 7, file 1; Harold S. Kaplan fonds 27, series 1-4, and Morris Norman fonds 22.
Sometime around 1919, the Family Welfare Committee was set up within the newly created Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of Toronto (FJPT) to perform social welfare work with Jewish families. Around 1931, the Committee was reorganized as an independent member agency of the FJPT and renamed the Jewish Family Welfare Bureau (JFWB). At the same time, Dora Wilensky (1902-1959), a professionally trained social worker, was hired as the agency’s Executive Director. Throughout its existence, most of its funding came from the FJPT (later the United Jewish Welfare Fund).
Located at 179 Beverley Street, the JFWB’s core activities included: relief provision; helping families met basic needs, such as medical care, heating and clothing; housekeeping assistance; counseling; and case work. The JFWB’s major concerns shifted over time from a rise of immigration and desertion cases in the 1920s to the dramatic increase of wife abuse, suicide and unemployment cases during the Great Depression of the 1930s. After the outbreak of the Second World War, the JFWB sought ways of assisting soldiers and their families, such as, investigating special government grants to soldiers.
In an attempt to meet community needs, the JFWB initiated various programs, such as a Homemaking Club to teach women house management skills, and a Clothing Centre to provide families with inexpensive household goods. It also partnered with other local Jewish organizations in the early 1940s in the Liaison Project for troubled Jewish youth. In the 1930s, the Jewish Employment Service and Hebrew Free Burial Society became departments of the JFWB and, in 1941, the JFWB began guaranteeing loans for clients through the Hebrew Free Loan Association. In the same year, the Jewish Big Sister Committee became affiliated with the agency and the Jewish Big Brother Movement followed soon after.
In 1936, the JFWB became one of the first unionized social agencies in Canada when it formed the Staff Association with the Jewish Child Welfare Association (JCWA), another member of the FJPT. Although the JFWB’s focus was work with families and the JCWA’s focus was work with children, both agencies found it necessary at times to work with both children and families. In order to prevent service duplication and reduce confusion over casework responsibility, the Joint Application Bureau was set up within the FJPT to review all case work applications and determine the appropriate agency to provide assistance. However, a merger between the agencies was still believed necessary to improve service to the community and ease confusion. Discussions regarding the co-ordination of services between the JCWA and the JFWB began as early as 1935 and in February 1943, the JCWA and JFWB merged to form the Jewish Family and Child Services (JF & CS).
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of textual records and one architectural drawing documenting the programs, operation, finances, and special studies of the Jewish Family Welfare Bureau as well as its relationships with other organizations. Included are reports, meeting notices, agendas and minutes, correspondence, memos, budgets, statistics, theatrical scripts, newsclippings, and one architectural blueprint. A number of the records relate to special short-lived committees and projects that the JFWB participated in with other agencies, such as the Jewish Big Sister Committee, Jewish Big Brother Committee, Jewish Child Welfare Association, the Jewish Community Centre Association, the Young Men's and Women's Hebrew Association, and the Jewish Old Folks' Home.
Records have been arranged into the following 19 series: 1. Board of Directors; 2. Executive Director; 3. Jewish Federation Communal Council; 4. United Jewish Welfare Fund Men's and Women's Service Council; 5. Case Committe; 6. Joint Meetings and Committees; 7. Joint Application Bureau; 8. Homemaking Club; 9. Clothing Centre; 10. Liaison Project; 11. Operational statistics; 12. Finance and accounting; 13. Human Resources; 14. Special projects and studies; 15. Publicity; 16. Liaison with other social welfare organizations; 17. Canadian Association of Social Workers; 18. Welfare Council of Toronto; and, 19. Conferences.
Associated material note: for related records held at the City of Toronto Archives, see also: Welfare Council of Toronto records in the University Settlement House fonds (fonds 1024, series 658); and, Department of Public Welfare records in the Former City of Toronto fonds (fonds 200).
Jewish Family Welfare Bureau
Jewish Community Centre Association
Young Men's-Young Women's Hebrew Athletic Association (Toronto, Ont.) (subject)
Jewish Old Folks Home (Toronto, Ont.)
United Jewish Welfare Fund (Toronto, Ont.) (subject)
Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of Toronto (subject)
Wilensky, Dora, 1902-1959
Partially closed. Researchers must receive permission from the OJA Director and the head of Jewish Family and Child prior to accessing some of the records.
See also: Jewish Child Welfare Association fonds (fonds 86); Jewish Family and Child Services fonds (fonds 79); Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of Toronto fonds (fonds 66); and, United Jewish Welfare Fund fonds (fonds 67).
Records relating to programs, committees and liaison with other organizations that continued after the formation of JF & CS are arranged with that fonds.