Presented as part of the programming for the Koffler Centre of the Arts’ exhibition The Synagogue at Babyn Yar: Turning the Nightmare of Evil into a Shared Dream of Good. Take steps back through time to explore Jewish roots in Toronto’s Kensington Market.
Our guide, Allan Cooper (b. 1938), is a living resource, having grown up in the neighbourhood, attended the synagogues and cheder (Hebrew classes), and has led tours for many years. Highlights include the very first congregations in Kensington, the Kiever Synagogue and Anshei Minsk from 1912, and additional significant landmarks – many repurposed buildings. With just 10 participants on each tour, book early… and lace up your walking shoes!
Born in Toronto 31 August 1938, Allan Cooper is a living resource about Kensington Market. Before the age of five, his family lived on Major Street, Markham Street, then Robert Street. When Cooper was five, his family moved to 511 Manning Avenue where a tree he planted still stands in the centre of the front lawn. He attended Clinton Public School from Kindergarten until Grade 8, then to Harbord Collegiate for 3 years before his family moved out of Kensington Market. While downtown, Cooper received his Jewish education at D’arcy Talmud Torah, Farband on Euclid, and from a Shtibul Shula on Manning. And he recalls the old synagogues of his youth: the Polisha, Londinnerl, Ostrovzer, Beth Lida, Kielcer, the original Stachiver shuls, and more. He earned his BA from University of Toronto and his law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School, and worked as a lawyer for 51 years before retiring. Since 2015, Cooper has led tours of the Jewish downtown.
(Note: After you register, you will receive instructions about where to meet. Please arrive before 10 am, as the tour will begin promptly. You will also receive a cell phone number to call if you are late and need to catch up. We have also scheduled a rest stop halfway through.)