What’s the story on that tiny cemetery on the east side of Pape, south of Gerrard?
Dear Urban Decoder: What’s the story on that tiny cemetery on the east side of Pape, south of Gerrard?—Elizabeth Hubert, Cabbagetown
Kensington Market is often thought of as the earliest hub of Hebrew immigration in Toronto, but in the mid–19th century, the city’s first Jewish community was focused further east. In 1849, Abraham Nordheimer, a piano maker with a burgeoning business on King Street East, and Judah G. Joseph, a jeweller and optician, purchased a 122-by-18-metre property on the outskirts of Leslieville for £20, creating Toronto’s first ever Jewish cemetery. About 200 interments would be carried out there in subsequent decades. By the turn of the 20th century, the community had moved on to other neighbourhoods, and there were few burials at Pape and Gerrard after 1930. But the little cemetery (now maintained by Holy Blossom Temple) remains, a last, poignant relic of Toronto’s earliest Jewish settlers.