Accession consists of four scanned photographs of original prints documenting the Hurtig family of Thunder Bay. Included is a photo of Mandy Helper with a truck he operated for International Transit Limited, a Hurtig family business (19 January 1934); the Mariaggi Hotel (ca. 1930); Max and Eva Hurtig (nee Gertler) around the time of their marriage in Winnipeg (ca. 1910); and Max Hurtig with his cousin Haber from New York (ca. 1910).
The items were originally scanned for the OJA's Ontario Small Jewish Communities exhibit, however they were never formally accessioned into our holdings. A letter was sent to Sheila Robertson requesting permission to accession the scans in September 2011.
Max Hurtig was born in Roumania and moved to Switzerland in 1903, in order to train to become a watchmaker. He wasn’t happy with the trade or the country and moved to England in order to secure a job and earn funds to travel to Canada. He landed a job on a cattle boat and worked his way across the Atlantic to Montreal, where he worked in a restaurant for a few weeks. He then decided to relocate to Winnipeg in 1904. Shortly thereafter, he located a job at the stone quarries in Tyndall and Garson. After a few months, he bought a team of horses and became a contractor hauling the cut stones. In 1907, he married Eva Gertler, who was from his shtetl, and they lived together in Tyndall. Their two eldest children, Dora (Dot) and Ben, were born there. In 1910, Max was joined by his brothers Dave and Bert and their father Mayer. Their mother Dvora had passed away in 1903.
Max returned to Winnipeg in 1911 with Eva, where he became a partner in Hurtig and Abraim Coal and Wood Company. In 1913, he started M.B. Hurtig Coal, Wood, and Building Supplies. Max also ran a livery business from the family home on Dufferin Avenue, where the stables were located at the back of the property. He became acquainted with the Bronfman brothers, who were engaged in running whisky across to American border. He made a few trips with them, but eventually gave up the work because he found it too risky. Instead, he went to work at the Bronfman-owned Bell Hotel.
In 1914, Max moved to Port Arthur to manage the Mariaggi Hotel, which had been purchased by the Bronfmans. Hurtig soon expanded his business and started a sizeable business empire that included: the Pigeon River Resort Hotel, International Transit Limited (the first bus line to serve that area), the Northland Hotel in Beardmore, the Mariaggi Hotel in Geraldton, the Empire Hotel in Fort William, the Port Arthur Café, and the Cloud Lake Sawmill. His hotels also served as bus depots for his bus line.
Max’s sons Morley and Harry helped manage the bus company which operated local service routes to Kenora, Fort Frances, Pigeon River, Red Lake and Marathon. All of the branches of the Hurtig family established roots in Fort William and Port Arthur, becoming one of the pre-eminent local families. Bert’s son, Larry Hurtig, became a prominent member of the Winnipeg Jewish community, in his capacity as the president of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg.
Copyright is in the public domain and permission for use is not required. Please credit the Ontario Jewish Archives as the source of the photograph.