295 SPADINA AVENUE
Shopsowitz’ Delicatessen, famous for corned beef and pastrami sandwiches, was a family business opened by Jenny and Harry Shopsowitz in 1921. Located on Spadina Avenue, the hub of Toronto’s Jewish community, Shopsy’s was a central spot in the theatre and garment districts.
Initially, Shopsy’s began as an ice cream parlour, but was then quickly converted into a delicatessen the following year. The small, narrow deli opened at 287 Spadina Avenue and was popular with the patrons of the Standard Theatre, who could order sandwiches, pop, and candy at intermission. Shopsy’s also served as the meeting place for the nearby Labor Lyceum, the headquarters for the non-Communist trade unions of the primarily Jewish garment district.
Harry and Jenny, originally from Keltz, Poland had three sons, David, Sam and Israel. Following Harry’s death in 1945, Sam and Israel (“Izzy”) Shopsowitz, took over the delicatessen, moved and expanded its storefront location (295–299 Spadina Avenue) and eventually expanded the business Shopsowitz Limited into a wholesale manufacturer and distributor of pre-packaged meats to grocery stores. Sam became known as Canada’s “Corned Beef King” and his face adorns the wholesale packaging to this day.