Koffler Drug Store

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376 COLLEGE STREET

Koffler’s Drug Store was first opened in 1923 by Romanian immigrant Leon Koffler. As a young man, Leon worked as a fruit peddler for Nelson’s before graduating from the Ontario College of Pharmacy in 1921. In a humble apartment above his pharmacy at 376 College Street, he lived with his wife, Tiana, and son, Murray, who was born in 1924. Leon proved to be successful as both a pharmacist and a businessperson, opening two more locations before his death in 1941.

In 1946, at the age of 22, Murray Koffler followed in his father’s footsteps by taking over the family business as a trained pharmacist. The younger Koffler’s success as a pharmacist and a businessperson propelled the family business to new heights. Through successful real-estate investments, he was able to co-found the Four Seasons Hotel and open Canada’s first self-serve pharmacy, Shoppers Drug Mart, which opened in 1962.

Murray and his wife, Marvelle Koffler (née Seligman) were generous philanthropists in the arts and healthcare, exemplified by the Koffler Centre of the Arts, established by the Koffler family in 1977 and still in operation today.

 

This intergenerational story illustrates the great success of one of Kensington Market’s early Jewish families.