79 Years of Gwartzman's | Community Spotlight
The week of October 2 is a special day in the Gwartzman's family history in Toronto. This year, 2023 marks 79 years when my grandparents opened their business at 448 Spadina Avenue under the name M.A. Gwartzman Silks and Woollens, run by my grandfather Morris and my grandmother Bella. The name Gwartzman's has been on the sign ever since.
My grandparents Morris and Bella Gwartzman immigrated from Poland in 1927 one year before my dad Paul was born. I don't know much about their travels in making their way to Toronto, but I do know life was difficult both abroad and the early years in Toronto. They worked hard in the textile business and to raise their family on Baldwin Street near what is now Mount Sinai Hospital.
Our building at 448 Spadina Avenue was a collection of buildings built in 1896. I have often thought about going to the Toronto Archives to find out about the history of the businesses that were previously there, but sometimes I prefer just to imagine who might have been in this building first.
You can still see small hooks and markings closer to the ceiling on our main retail floor. The wood floors are mostly original. If the floors could talk...
Yes, I am nostalgic.
Each day I enter our store on Spadina Avenue I am not only greeted by the sights and smells of art materials I think of our history on Spadina Avenue and the surrounding neighborhoods.
The business areas we are located in; Kensington market and Chinatown have definitely changed since 1945.
Yes, our business has evolved since the beginning but the name Gwartzman's on our sign remains unchanged.
Join me as I celebrate a piece of the Gwartzman family at 448 Spadina Avenue in Toronto “on or about October 2”
- Jackie G