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Joe's Fruit Market




Joe’s Fruit Market was owned by Joe Fremar, better known as “Joe the Orange Man” a grocer in Kensington Market beginning in 1938. 

As a boy, Joseph moved to Palestine from White Russia (present-day Belarus). In 1926, he moved to Montreal; he was eighteen years old. In Montreal, Joseph ran a small business, but struggled to sustain himself. Closing his shop, he migrated to New York while contemplating a move to Vancouver. In the end, however, Joseph moved to Toronto, where he began his career as a grocer in Kensington Market.

Joe’s Fruit Market was one of the earliest shops to open along this part of Augusta Avenue. Over the forty-plus years it was open, Joseph witnessed the growth of shops and changes in the dynamics of the neighbourhood. Joseph lived with his family in the Market until about 1964 and was an active member of the Kiever Synagogue.

Joe “the Orange Man” is an example of a stalwart figure who remained in Kensington even as much of the Jewish community was moving north. During Joseph’s extended time in the market, he witnessed its various transformations as new immigrant communities came to call Kensington home, relying on the blueprint established by these earlier Jewish businesses.




Joe recorded an interview with the Ontario Jewish Archives in May 1974.

In the first clip, Joe reflects on the social politics of belonging to various Toronto synagogues.

In the second clip, Joe talks about Toronto's changing population at the time.

OJA, oral history AC 021.

Listen to the whole interview below:

Joseph Fremar - 14 May 1974 - Joseph Fremar & Bess Shockett
00:00 / 00:00
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