Ontario Jewish Archives

oja community parade
Jewish community parade to commemorate the Balfour Declaration (St. Catharines, ON), 1917. Ontario Jewish Archives, Blankenstein Family Heritage Centre, item 417. Photograph by Franklin Caplan.

The Ontario Jewish Archives, Blankenstein Family Heritage Centre (OJA) is the largest repository of Jewish life in Canada. 

Founded in 1973, the OJA, a department of UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, acquires, preserves and makes accessible the records that chronicle our province’s Jewish history. The collection documents organizations, individuals, synagogues, schools, summer camps, leisure, athletes, and businesses. There are many different ways to explore the OJA’s collection and learn about the province’s Jewish past. You can make an appointment to look at photographs, films, Yiddish newspapers, hand-written correspondence, and even an original Superman drawing! Through exhibitions, programs, research assistance, and walking tours, the OJA tells the stories of Ontario’s Jewish community.

Address: 4600 Bathurst St, North York, ON M2R 3V2
Ontario Jewish archives logo

Related Events

Archived

June 23, 2024

Celebrate art, community and Pride month as FENTSTER’s signature sidewalk party returns with yummy nibbles, art-making for all ages and live music from The Horables!

Archived

March 31, 2024

A Jewish journey of optimism, faith, and joy – including the joy and affirmation of finding an ancestor you never knew you had. 

Archived

May 28, 2023

Please join the OJA for a special event celebrating Jewish life in the Manor. Gather with neighbourhood family and friends, meet our Manor exhibition storytellers, reminisce, and share your Manor story!

Archived

May 24, 2023

Join us to see Love the Stranger and explore/discuss the process of curating, telling and celebrating our community’s stories.

Archived

March 30, 2023

Explore the role women have played in building a thriving Jewish community in Ontario over the last century and a half.

Archived

November 13, 2022

to December 11, 2022

Using one object from their respective collections, eleven archivists from the west to the east coasts of the country will share the stories of these objects that distill the role and importance of their collection in their regional spaces but within the larger context of the Canadian Jewish experience.

Archived

April 26, 2022

This event is to engage Jewish and non-Jewish teachers grade 8-12, adult educators, and community members in a conversation about the history and identities of multiracial and multiethnic Jews in Canada through Periphery curriculum.

Happening Now

December 1, 2021

to December 1, 2025

The OJA offers public history tours of Jewish community sites in Toronto.

Archived

October 28, 2021

Join us online for a film screening of the documentary, Periphery followed by a Q & A with Director Sara Yacobi-Harris and Cinematographer Marcus Armstrong.

Archived

April 28, 2021

In conversation with art historian Sara Angel, Toronto-born, Chicago-based artist Jacqueline Kott-Wolle will discuss how candid family photography informs her recent work and explores a personal yet quintessential brand of Jewish identity.

Archived

May 2, 2021

During the late 1800s and early 1900s thousands of Yiddish-speaking Jews arrived in Canada. This talk will explore their first impressions as presented in their own personal Yiddish narratives.

Archived

March 5, 2021

to March 8, 2021

Dr. May Cohen and her husband, Dr. Gerry Cohen, ran a successful medical practice for twenty years in the heart of Toronto’s Bathurst Manor community.

Archived

February 24, 2021

A documentary film about the vibrant Miami Beach community of Jewish retirees and the transformation of South Beach between the 1960s and 1980s.

Archived

February 1, 2021

to February 3, 2021

Morley Torgov is an award-winning writer, who brought to life stories about Jewish communities in small-town Ontario with humour, warmth and a critical eye.

Archived

October 27, 2020

This all-new video podcast brings to life the pages of Mandel’s lovingly researched story, with renowned actor Alon Nashman stepping into the author’s persona as narrator of the original text.

Archived

October 18, 2020

A photo-rich webinar about the history of Jewish life in South Africa and the immigration of Jewish South Africans to Canada.

Archived

August 5, 2020

A for a unique opportunity with the OJA to interview the earliest residents of Bathurst Manor—one of Toronto’s first Jewish suburbs.

Archived

August 27, 2020

A panel discussion as part of The Honest Ed’s Experience with Lulu Wei, Itah Sadu, Franca Longobardi, and Ken Greenberg, Gene Mascardelli.

Archived

August 25, 2020

to September 2, 2020

TJFF and OJA present a special screening series celebrating the life and legacy of Jewish impresario Ed Mirvish and his beloved discount store, Honest Ed’s, a landmark for generations of immigrants upon their arrival in Toronto.

Related Exhibitions

Gallery

February 12, 2024

to November 29, 2024

Celebrating 50 years of preserving our community’s history.

Gallery

June 14, 2023

to October 31, 2023

Drawing from the extensive collection of the Ontario Jewish Archives and curated contemporary artwork to honour and celebrate Jewish women in the arts, throughout history and today. 

Gallery

May 1, 2023

to June 1, 2023

An exhibition recalling and celebrating 100 years of Jewish immigration to Canada and of Jews welcoming and supporting immigrants and refugees.

Gallery

April 4, 2023

to April 30, 2023

Periphery is an evocative photographic and film project that bears witness to ethnic diversity in the Jewish community.

Virtual

January 1, 2023

to December 31, 2023

The OJA is celebrating 50 years of collecting our community’s history! Each week, a new collection will be revealed, showcasing a variety of organizations, individuals, and events from over 170 years of Jewish history in Ontario.

Gallery

November 30, 2022

to April 30, 2023

A two-part collaborative project with the OJA and Baycrest honouring Jewish women and their vital contributions to our community.

Gallery

May 1, 2022

to January 26, 2024

The Manor holds a special place in our community’s memory and the Ontario Jewish Archives is working to ensure that this important part of our heritage is preserved for research and future generations.

Gallery

October 13, 2022

to November 28, 2022

In celebration of 100 years of Jewish Immigrant Aid Services in Canada, the OJA and JIAS Toronto invite you to visit Refuge Canada Tent, a traveling exhibit created by the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, and Love the Stranger, a complementary exhibit curated by the Ontario Jewish Archives. 

Virtual

September 1, 2022

to September 30, 2022

Love the Stranger is an archival exhibition that shares the story of Jewish Immigrant Aid Services (JIAS).

Virtual

February 14, 2022

to February 14, 2024

Whether examining a highly formal, early-twentieth-century studio portrait or a glamorous 1940s bridal portrait, these images offer an opportunity to get lost in the romance and history of a flourishing community.

Gallery

October 4, 2021

to March 20, 2022

Periphery will illustrate the ways that Jewish people in Ontario, with intersecting social identities, negotiate a sense of place and recognition and reflect on what periphery means to them.

Virtual

May 1, 2021

to May 31, 2023

A virtual tour of Toronto’s historic Kensington Market. Scroll through all eight stops and watch the streets come to life though guided videos presenting the sights and sounds of the one-time Jewish Market.

Virtual

November 11, 2020

to November 11, 2025

Over 17,000 Canadian Jews enlisted in the military during WWII. Through their personal collections, preserved at the OJA, we can learn about these Canadian Jewish servicemen and women and the Jewish organizations that aided them.

Virtual

May 14, 2007

to May 10, 2021

A selection of historic tzedakah boxes from the holdings of the Ontario Jewish Archives and Beth Tzedec Reuben and Helene Dennis Museum. 

Virtual

May 14, 2007

to May 10, 2021

An online exhibition by the OJA examining the various ways the Jewish community made a living during the first quarter of the twentieth century.

Virtual

May 14, 2007

to May 10, 2021

This OJA exhibition explores the heroic participation of the Canadian military’s Jewish servicemen (and later women), who fought side-by-side with other Canadians in the wars of the past century.

Virtual

May 14, 2007

to May 10, 2021

This online project by the OJA that looks at the history of the Young Men’s and Young Women’s Hebrew Association.

Virtual

May 17, 2004

to May 10, 2021

This online project by the OJA investigates the rich history and cultural significance of some  of Toronto’s first synagogues that are still located in their original buildings.

Virtual

May 11, 2009

to May 10, 2021

An online project by the OJA including original historic text, photographs, audio and video clips, archival documents, maps and architectural plans.

Virtual

May 13, 2019

to May 10, 2021

The Southern African Legacy Project documents the fascinating stories of Ontario’s Jewish immigrants from South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Virtual

May 6, 2019

to May 3, 2021

Storefront Stories tells the history of the Jewish businesses in Kensington Market.