Samuel Harris was born in 1869, likely in Lithuania, and died in Toronto in 1936. His wife Sarah [Ruben] (1869-1940) had immigrated to Toronto from Svislocz (near Bialystock) in 1887. The couple lived for a time in the American Midwest before opening the Harris Delicatessen business in 1900 or 1901 at 233 Queen Street West in Toronto. In 1913 they moved the business across the street to 178 Queen Street West and re-opened as a new deli. Harris’ was the first Jewish delicatessen in Toronto. It was later converted by Mr. Harris from a deli to a tobacco store.
The family had three sons: Samuel Aaron (1888-1982) born in Toronto, Dr. William (1895-1955) born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Dr. Louis [Jacob] (1906-1986) born in Toronto. Samuel and Sarah Harris were the grandparents of, among others, Judge Sydney M. Harris; Thelma B. Harris [m. Prof. Albert Rose]; and Sgt. Frederick B. Harris of the Queen’s Own Rifles, who was killed at Juno Beach on D-Day.
Sarah Harris was the sister or half-sister of Abraham Rothbart (pharmacist). Samuel Harris was the founding chairman of the Toronto Hebrew Free School, a founder of the Toronto Free Loan Association, and a president of the Toronto Jewish Old Folks Home on Cecil Street.
Scope and Content
The photograph is an interior view of Harris' Deli located at 178 Queen St. W. near Simcoe Street in Toronto. Sarah Harris is pictured inside the deli.
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.