Toronto is a global leader of finance, business and technology, is among the top five most livable cities in the world, and is also culturally diverse. Demographics show Toronto to be one of the most multicultural cities in the world with nearly fifty percent of its population originating outside of Canada. Jewish Canadians that call Toronto home total nearly three percent and the Jewish community has played an important role in building Toronto into the city it is today.
Toronto’s Jewish history dates back to the early 19th century with record of one Jewish wedding held in York in 1817! The Toronto census of 1846 counted twelve Jewish residents and the Toronto Hebrew Congregation, the city’s first Jewish synagogue, was established in 1856.
The decades to follow would mark tireless struggle, as well as successes over adversity for Toronto’s Jewish citizens and today the city of Toronto is home to the largest Jewish community in Canada. With a heritage that spans several generations, it’s not surprising to find a number of Jewish retirement communities nestled in various neighborhoods, as well as downtown and the Greater Toronto Area. The independent living community at Terrace Gardens, the boutique style Pine Villa and Forest Hill Place, each represent the wide range of options in retirement living available to Toronto seniors.
So, where do you begin your search for Toronto retirement residences that will best suits your lifestyle and preferences?
The neighborhood of Bathurst Street, with its tree-lined streets, peaceful parks, and its vibrant Jewish cultural centers is home to Terrace Gardens retirement residence that offers independent living, assisted living and memory care. Bathurst Street has been at the heart of Toronto’s Jewish community for many decades and provides close proximity to synagogues, local shops, entertainment centers and health care services. Kensington Market (a national historic site) nearby in downtown Toronto, is the perfect destination to stroll with visiting guests.
The prestigious neighborhood of Forest Hill is home to Forest Hill Place -- a Toronto retirement home offering a range of options including independent living, Assisted Living and Alzheimer’s care. Retirement communities usually offer tours and you might even inquire about an overnight stay so that you can get a personal feel for the residence. Visit with residents and staff and explore the grounds -- picture yourself in the environment and ask yourself if you could reside there.
You’ll find that many of the shops and businesses of Forest Hill and Bathurst Street cater to the Jewish community. A Eglinton Avenue West you’ll find synagogues, Jewish learning and cultural centers, shops of all kinds as well as dining and entertainment.
Kosher dining and Shabbot services
Traditional Jewish retirement homes in Toronto area offer kosher meals on their menu. Some are even prepared in kitchens supervised by the ever-so-watchful eye of the respected Kashruth Council in which fine kosher ingredients are used in preparing old world dishes that you’ve enjoyed your whole life. Traditional Shabbot services are held according to custom in many communities and families are welcome to join their loved ones for the observances.
Take time to research the possibilities and options available to you, get input and advice from family and friends and make appointments to visit the residences that interest you most. Your choice should extend beyond the perfect floor plan or dining menu, don’t underestimate the importance of location. At the end of the day, and even at dawn -- you’ll appreciate being in a community that’s at least driving distance to loved ones, and close to the services and amenities that meet your needs.
By Alice Lucette
In the photo: Forest Hill Place by Revera