172 & 181 BALDWIN STREET
172 BALDWIN STREET
Lottman’s Bakery at 172 Baldwin Street was the first of two locations of this well-known Jewish bakery. It opened in the early 1920s and was known for its large brick oven. On many Friday nights, neighbouring Kensington women would bring their pots of chollent, a Jewish style stew, over to Lottman’s to keep warm in the oven. The pots would simmer inside the oven overnight and then be ready for Sabbath on Saturday, the weekly day of rest. This practice of sharing an oven for communal cooking was common in many of the eastern European shtetlekh (villages), from which Kensington's Jewish community emigrated. The large oven enabled Lottman’s to play a central role in supporting the weekly rituals of the Jewish women in the neighbourhood.
Lottman’s Bakery was also known as Imperial Bakery in its earliest days. The bakery was opened by Sam Lottman, a Jewish immigrant from Poland. The Lottmans ran the bakery at this location before relocating to 181 Baldwin in 1947.
181 BALDWIN STREET
Lottman’s Bakery at 181 Baldwin Street was the second location for this multigenerational, family-run bakery. Like the one at its previous location at 172 Baldwin Street, the Lottman’s Bakery at 181 Baldwin was known for a special oven: a “travelling oven” that moved baked goods along a conveyer belt—a rarity for its time. This oven, along with the business’ relocation in the market, suggests that Lottman’s was extremely successful for its time, as the bakery introduced advanced technology before it was commonplace. This technology undoubtedly contributed to the bakery’s ability to expand its business. At its peak, Lottman’s delivered to over seventy-five other businesses in the city and had over fifty employees.
The new oven was also a sign of the transformations occurring in Kensington Market at the time. Within the next few decades, mechanized ovens like the one at Lottman’s would far outnumber traditional brick ovens. This shift was expedited by the city’s work to convert wood-burning stoves to electric due to health, safety and environmental concerns.
Opening in 1947, some twenty years after its first location, Lottman’s was a popular Jewish bakery, known for its Russian rye bread and onion rolls. It would continue its operation for three successive generations before closing in 1984.
172 BALDWIN STREET