Bill Gladstone

How to improve photos dramatically using MyHeritage

  I recently used the genealogy website MyHeritage to drastically improve the colour and clarity of an old Toronto postcard showing the historic Goel Tzedec Synagogue (at lower right in above image). This rare postcard provides an excellent view of the synagogue in situ on University Avenue in the 1920s. The synagogue was built about…

Doing genealogy at the Ontario Jewish Archives

from Canadian Jewish News (2015) When Cantor Bernard Wladowsky was lured from Chicago to Toronto in March 1912 to begin singing in Goel Tzedec Congregation’s monumental new synagogue on University Avenue, he was 36 years old, in beautiful voice, and of striking appearance in his white clerical robes. As the Toronto Daily Star marveled at…

My day in court; or, Every dog has his day

From The Globe & Mail I am one of this city’s great silent army of working poor, and so my name is Legion. I am just one of the masses, evidently, poor and huddled, yearning to breath free; one of the anonymous faces that wash up in the courtrooms of Old City Hall each morning,…

Showboat controversy revisited

Born in 1887 to Jewish parents in Kalamazoo, Mich., American novelist and playwright Edna Ferber was a hardworking, overly modest, frequently self-effacing writer who read the critics too carefully and was too easily wounded by their sloppily-aimed slings and arrows. Convinced, for instance, that no one would want to read her novel So Big, she advised…

Review: Joseph Anton, A Memoir, by Salman Rushdie

From the Canadian Jewish News, January 2013 London-based writer Salman Rushdie was happy to sell his novel The Satanic Verses to Viking Penguin in February 1988. But six months after the novel appeared, the Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against him for his blasphemous insult “against Islam, the Prophet and the Qur’an.” Instantly he became…

Garth Drabinsky in his glory days

Garth Drabinsky was appalled that day in 1987 when he heard that publishers were about to bid at auction for the rights to an unauthorized biography of himself. Realizing that “a book filled with misstatements and misrepresentations and ignorant reporting of the facts would do me a lot of harm,” he quickly took strong evasive…

The Jews of Nagasaki

The 60th anniversary of the atomic blasts at Hiroshima and Nagasaki this month (August 2005)  provides an occasion to recall the small but thriving Jewish community that once existed in the southern Japanese port city of Nagasaki. Nagasaki’s Jewish colony was founded by a few Jewish refugees fleeing the Russian pogroms of the 1880s; the…

Indian In The Cabinet: A Look Back At SNC-Lavalin

Writing On The Wall: Review of Indian in the Cabinet (2021) Remember Jody Wilson-Raybould? She’s the former Trudeauvian Minister of Justice and Attorney-General who — incredible as it sounds — insisted upon telling the truth, a course that must have seemed all but inconceivable to the PM and his appointed viziers. In her 2021 memoir,…

Silas Hardoon, richest man in Asia

­Silas Aaron Hardoon was born into a poor Jewish family in Baghdad in 1851, but when he died in Shanghai China 80 years later, he was regarded as the wealthiest man in Asia, leaving behind a fortune worth as much as $15 billion in today’s dollars. When Hardoon arrived in Shanghai as a youth of…

Toronto’s Jews Think Big As Their Population Grows (2000)

From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, May 24, 2000 (JTA) The UJA Federation of Greater Toronto is trying to keep pace with the city’s growing Jewish population through a massive building and revitalization project. The most recent is a $150-million Jewish campus in the York region, the area just north of the city that is home…