It’s back! I has been 3 years since I published my last Local History Advent Calendar! So much has happened since that last time—including the publication of my first book, Mount Pleasant Stories—that I figured it was about time to dust off the Local History Advent Calendar once again. Similar to a regular advent calendar but instead of chocolate treats, each day you “open” a new historical treat. Think of them as holiday cocktail party fodder– 24 facts or stories about local history that can be used as conversation starters at your next social event.
Chaim (Himan) Leib Freedman (1886-1952) arrived in Vancouver from Antopal, Poland (now Belarus) in 1910. Four years later, wife Sarah (Goldberg) and 4-year-old son Myer joined Freedman. Daughters Rosie, Celia and Rachel were born in Canada.
Chaim Freedman was an entrepreneur earning a living as a junk dealer. From 1915 to 1952, he was the proprietor of a junk & second hand furniture business called Chicago Junk Co. (later Chicago Furniture) at 625 Main Street.
First settling in Strathcona, the original centre of the city’s Jewish community, Chaim L. Freedman and family moved to Mount Pleasant around 1919 (until 1946). It was common for many Jewish families as they became “better off” to move south of False
Creek, first to Mount Pleasant, but still within walking distance of the synagogue in observance Orthodox Jewish laws.
The Freedmans were very active in Vancouver’s early Jewish community. Shortly after his arrival in the city Chaim L. Freedman founded the Vancouver Chevra Kadisha (the Hebrew Burial Society), which was responsible for the care and management of all Jewish burials. He served as its president for twenty-six years. The Freedmans were also founding members of Schara Tzedeck Synagogue.
Son, Myer Freedman (1910-2003) is best known for establishing the Vancouver landmark business Freedman Shoes, in 1931. He owned and operated Freedman Shoes until his retirement in 1997 at the age of 87.
You can find more about members of Mount Pleasant’s Jewish community and other Mount Pleasant histories in my illustrated walking tour book, Mount Pleasant Stories. Copies are available for purchase in Mount Pleasant at Pulpfiction Books – 2422 Main Street and in Chinatown at Massy Books – 229 E Georgia St. It makes a great gift or stocking stuffer for your favourite local history buff!