The landscape of Jewish Toronto: An examination of landscape as a reflection of community

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Rennert, Anne Karolyn

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University of Guelph

Abstract

This study presents a model for the examination of landscape as a reflection of community and explores the distinctiveness of Toronto's Jewish landscape in order to gain insight into the life of the city's Jewish community. The study focuses on two centres of Jewish life in Toronto: 'the Ward' and the neighbourhood of Spadina Avenue, the heart of Jewish Toronto during the early 20\spth century; and the neighbourhood of Bathurst Street, the current centre of Jewish population. Using mapping, archival documents and photographs, historical accounts, and direct observation, the study identifies the distinctive landscape characteristics of the old and new Jewish enclaves and compares the landscape characteristics of the two periods. It demonstrates that the early community of East European Jewish immigrants and the contemporary Jewish community have much in common and suggests that the landscapes of the old and new Jewish enclaves reflect a shared meaning of community.

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Keywords

landscape, Jewish Toronto, reflection, community, distinctiveness

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