Trachter's Milk Store

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71 KENSINGTON AVENUE

Trachter’s Milk Store offers an example of how Jewish dietary laws extended to businesses within Kensington Market. These laws, known as kashrut, require the complete separation of meat products from dairy, including the cream, cheese, and butter advertised on the window of Harry Trachter’s storefront. 

This separation starts with the preparation of the products, extends to their sale in butcher shops and creameries like Trachter’s, and finally into the home. In the home, this often means separating cutlery, pots, pans, and sometimes use of counters and sinks, depending on one’s adherence to kashrut. 

Most of the Jewish shoppers in Kensington Market in the 1920s would have been looking to purchase food that was kosher, meaning foods that conform to these dietary laws. This meant a grocery trip with at least two stops: one for meat products and another for dairy.

Trachter’s was briefly open at this 71 Kensington Avenue location in 1925, but within a year the business moved slightly outside of the Market to 800 Dundas Street West. It remained there until 1934, when a fire that started in the neighbouring apartment burned down most of the store along with the family’s home, which was located above. Though the building was badly damaged, Harry Trachter and his wife Becky (pictured above with her brother Art Cooper) escaped unscathed with their three young children, and opened shop again in 1935, this time at 836 Dundas Street West.

News story on the fire in the Trachters' apartment. Toronto Star, 19 February 1934, page 27.