Wellts delicatessen was founded by Peter and Fannie Wellts in the 1910s at 350 College Street. Peter Wellts was born in Tarnigrad, Poland in 1888 and Fannie Brown was born in New York City in 1889. They met in New York and moved with Fannie’s family to Toronto in 1910. Peter worked in the garment district prior at the start of the restaurant business. Fannie’s father David Brown had come earlier from New York to work for Eaton’s in the men’s clothing business. The rest of the Brown family, Fannie’s parents and siblings eventually returned to New York. Peter and Fannie married in Toronto on November 26, 1910. They had two daughters Sylvia (August 26, 1911) (m. Walfish) and Ethel (dob January 7, 1928) (m. Rochwerg). They lived in an apartment above the delicatessen. When Ethel married her husband Nathan Rochwerg in 1948, they moved in with Fannie and Peter above the deli. Ethel and Nathan had three children Martin, Arlene (m. Kochberg), and Sidney. When Peter was in his 70s, it was decided that the family would move north into the Bathurst Manor and close the deli. Peter had a heart attack on December 26, 1959, before the move, and Fannie moved in with Nathan and Ethel and their three children. The deli closed in 1959.
The deli was known for 5 cent pastrami/corned beef sandwiches sold during the depression. Peter Wellts never let anyone go hungry during this period. They had Vernor's ginger ale on tap during a time when everything was in bottles. Deliveries would come in through the backyard by the garage. It was kosher. Ethel remembers people coming in to use the phone in the kitchen or the washroom in the basement.