The voices on this recording illuminate the achievement of the Jewish community in the late 1950s when they built the Bathurst JCC at 4600 Bathurst Street. As the community moved northward, there was a need for a new athletic and cultural centre to service the families living in the surrounding neighbourhoods. The new Northern ‘Y’ was dedicated in 1961 at Bathurst Street and Sheppard Avenue in a beautiful ravine.
Fourteen years later, a new cultural and physical education wing was added to better serve the needs of its members. This included the addition of the Leah Posluns Theatre and the Koffler Centre of the Arts. The BJCC thrived for decades, offering members a place to gather, socialize, play sports, nosh, exercise, dance, swim, and build community.
In late August of this year, the OJA received an exciting donation of audio recordings from the company Kay Radio. Included is a recording of the North Y groundbreaking ceremonies from the winter of 1958 when community leaders, rabbis, and local politicians gathered to celebrate this moment. Some of the individuals identified speaking are: Rabbi Feinberg, Ellis I. Shapiro, Sam Granatstein, Kelso Roberts (Attorney General of Ontario), Fred Gardiner, Vernon Singer, and Mayor Nathan Phillips.
When you listen to the audio, you can hear the praise for the community's “forward-thinkingness” in building a "Y" on this property by those who spoke at this ceremony. And, their words remain relevant today as the community embarks on rebuilding this campus for the current and future generations.