Baldwin Street/Then and Now
John’s Italian Cafe at 29 Baldwin St. isn’t some newfangled Kosher Trattoria, and the sign isn’t really Hebrew. It’s the last extant Jewish sign in Kensington, and the words are in “Yinglish.”
“It was written so the Jews could read it in Hebrew, but the words are actually English,” says Donna Bernardo-Ceriz, assistant archivist at the Ontario Jewish Archives. The sign entices shoppers to come in for “Butter, Cheese, Cream and Eggs,” and assures the goods are “Made Fresh Daily,” according to Bernardo-Ceriz’s colleague Aviva Heller. Formerly Mandal’s Creamery (not to be confused with Mendel’s Cheese in Kensington Market), proprietor Harry Mandal lived and worked at the creamery from as early as 1925 until sometime in the late 1960s or ’70s.