Wherever you go in Eastern Canada, you may find some Jewish history
Plaques and Markers Part 3 - Eastern Canada
Continuing on our tour of historic plaques and markers about the Jewish community....
This is the third and final of a series of blogs of historical plaques and markers about the Jewish community in Canada. Full disclaimer – I haven’t actually visited most of these, but I’ve done the virtual poking around, so you don’t have to! Just a quick reminder – a JewJu Bag is light and small enough to tuck into your bag for Shabbat on the road. Of course, feel free to print this blog and take it on your travels.
In Quebec City, the Beth Israel Cemetery has been designated as a National Historical Site, as a “tangible reminder of the pioneer Jewish community founded in 1759.” You’ll find it on Rene Levesque Boulevard.
In Montreal, St. Laurent Boulevard is also known as The Main, and it’s been an immigrant area for different waves of immigrants. Naturally, it was a centre for the Jewish community at one time. There’s a lengthy plaque where you can read about the history of the street and who’s passed through there. Look for it at the intersection of Saint Laurent and Rue de la Commune Ouest.
While you’re on Saint Laurent, go to 1182 Saint Laurent, the Monument National. (Since it’s been designated a National Historical Site, it is now, confusingly, the Monument National National Historic Site.) Built in 1893, and still a functioning performance space and theatre, it was a “centre of Yiddish performance in Canada between 1915 and 1957”, according to the plaque.
While in and around Montreal, you can also find the Jewish section in the Last Post Fund National Field of Honour, another National Historic Site of Canada, at 703 Donegan Street, in Pointe-Claire, Montreal. The plaque marks the origin of this military cemetery, is a military cemetery established by the last Post fund, which undertook to bury soldiers for free, before that was a government responsibility.
In Moncton, you’ll find the Free Meeting House, built in 1821, and restored in 1990. Until 1963, it was a place of worship and meeting place for Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant denominations. It has been designated a National Historical Site because "it is a symbol of the interdenominational religious toleration prevalent in the Maritime Provinces in the late 18th and early 19th centuries,” according to Parks Canada.
You’ll find it at 140 Steadman Street, Moncton, New Brunswick. If you want to visit, ask at Resurgo Place, 20 Mountain Road Moncton NB https://www.resurgo.ca/welcome
In Maugerville, New Brunswick, the Acadia Forest Experimental Station was a complex of buildings that were originally built as “relief camps” during the Great Depression – the unemployed single and homeless were given shelter, employment, and medical care. Later, they were internment places for Jewish refugees, and Italian and German POW’s. While the buildings were apparently sold and moved, there is an Internment Camp museum with a trail http://www.nbinternmentcampmuseum.ca/
I found these sites by using the search terms “Jewish”, “Jew”, and “synagogue” in these sites. They’re all great and interesting websites if you want to poke around to find your own landmarks as well.
People share markers they find with the Waymarking community, at Waymarking. http://www.waymarking.com/
Parks Canada Directory of Federal Heritage Designation https://www.pc.gc.ca/apps/dfhd/default_eng.aspx