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.