Hilton and Shirley were born in Durban, South Africa in 1951. Although both were involved in the Habonim youth movement, the two did not meet until their first year in pharmacy school. After getting married and serving a brief stint in the military, Hilton left with Shirley on a trip overseas that included Europe and the United Sates, but whose ultimate purpose was the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.
Upon arriving in Montreal, the couple decided Canada would be a good place to live. By that point, they had resolved that they did not want their children to internalize the racial norms of apartheid South Africa. Cementing their decision was the fact Shirley’s sister was accepted into Canada shortly after the two returned to South Africa.
Hilton and Shirley’s immigration to Canada was complicated by the fact they were regarded by the government as students, not full-fledged pharmacists. When they came to Canada in August 1977, they therefore had to qualify as pharmacists, which they did by attending university while holding down full-time jobs as pharmacy technicians. Once certified, they moved to Dundas, where they opened a series of pharmacies and raised their children.
In 2007, the couple sold their Day Night Pharmacy chain to Rexall Pharma Plus. In 2014 Hilton and Shirley relocated to Toronto and now spend their time between Toronto and Vancouver to be close to their children and grandchildren.
Silberg, Hilton, 1951-
Silberg, Shirley, 1951-
Durban (South Africa)
Johannesburg (South Africa)
00:38 Shirley was born in Durban, South Africa in 1951.
00:44 Shirley discusses her family history. Her maternal grandparents came to Durban in early 1800s from England. They married in South Africa. Her paternal grandparents came to Durban from Lithuania in the late 1800s. They married in South Africa. Her father was a physician specializing in physical medicine; her mother worked as his secretary.
03:31 Shirley describes her privileged early home life.
04:26 Shirley attended Hebrew day school.
05:06 Shirley describes her education and involvement in sports.
07:28 Shirley attended the Habonim youth movement.
08:13 Shirley discusses her early memories of politics and apartheid.
09:57 Shirley describes the impact an overseas trip to Europe and Israel had on her.
12:34 Shirley explains that she and Hilton considered immigrating to Canada and Israel. Her sister had immigrated to Canada and her brother had immigrated to England.
13:31 Hilton and Shirley attended the pharmacy school in Durban.
14:48 Hilton and Shirley married and moved to Johannesburg. Hilton completed mandatory service in the army.
15:37 Hilton was born in Durban on 26 October 1951. He discusses his family history. His maternal grandparents came from Lithuania. His mother was born in South Africa. His father's family came from Lithuania. His father was born in Lithuania. Hilton shares a story about his paternal grandmother's voyage from Lithuania to Pretoria with five children. When his parents were married they moved to Durban in the mid-1950s.
17:46 Hilton discusses his parents. His mother was an occasional secretary. His father was initially a tool and diemaker. Later, he worked in business. Hilton notes that his father was a semi-professional football player.
20:30 Hilton explains that his mother had a strong Jewish identity, but was not religious.
21:06 Hilton discusses his education in public school and Hebrew school.
21:58 Hilton reminisces about his childhood.
23:25 Hilton discusses how he and his sister became competitive ballroom dancers.
25:50 Hilton discusses his bar mitzvah training.
27:02 Hilton was active in the Habonim youth movement.
27:31 Hilton shares his impressions growing up under apartheid. He discusses discrimination, restrictions, and censorship.
30:33 Hilton discusses his mandatory military service.
36:22 Hilton and Shirley discuss how they met and dated.
37:45 Hilton discusses some of the factors that triggered the couple's decision to leave South Africa.
43:07 Hilton and Shirley describe how they struggled to accumulate money before leaving South Africa.
44:12 Hilton describes the efforts made to secure work and a visa for entry into Canada.
48:31 Hilton and Shirley describe the sentiments that surrounded their departure from South Africa.
49:40 Hilton and Shirley arrived in Canada on 25 August 1977.
50:30 Shirley shares anecdotes about her first experiences with household chores.
54:20 Hilton and Shirley discuss their few acquaintances/contacts when they first arrived in Canada.
55:40 Hilton explains how his outlook has changed since he moved to Canada.
57:41 Shirley describes the challenges of juggling work and pharmacy classes at the University of Toronto. Hilton and Shirley share some examples of cultural differences between Canada and South Africa.
1:01:05 Hilton and Shirley worked as pharmaceutical technicians.
1:03:53 Hilton explains how they became partners in a pharmacy in Dundas, Ontario. Hilton and Shirley discuss how they settled in and were welcomed into the Jewish community.
1:10:05 Hilton and Shirley brought Hilton's two sisters, brother, parents, and Shirley's mother to Canada.
1:11:02 Hilton explains the circumstances that led to a split with his partners. He changed the name of the pharmacy from Amherst Pharmacy to Hilton Pharmacy. He describes the growth of the business.
1:18:00 Hilton describes the expansion and success of the business to five pharmacies.
1:20:12 Hilton discusses his involvement in the Jewish and secular communities in Dundas.
1:20:57 In 2007, the business was purchased by Rexall.
1:21:33 Shirley explains the circumstances that prompted their move to Toronto via Vancouver.
1:23:55 Shirley describes a return visit to South Africa with her two youngest children.
1:25:22 Hilton reminisces about a family trip to London and South Africa in 1980.
1:27:08 Hilton describes his discomfort during a visit to Durban, South Africa in 1986.
1:28:40 Shirley relates an anecdote that occurred during their family trip to South Africa.
1:30:46 Hilton reflects on how much he appreciates being in Canada.
1:32:50 Shirley identifies becoming Canadian citizens as a turning point in their new life in Canada.