Like the community we serve, the UB story continues to evolve.
Thank you to our customers who have shared their memories.
Each story adds another vibrant colour to our already beautiful tapestry…..
your story has now become part of ours.
In 1948, I travelled from Germany and arrived at Union Station in Toronto. After my long journey, I walked out of the station and looked around to figure out where I was going to head next. A gentleman came up to me and asked me if I would like to have breakfast at one of the finest restaurants in the city. I happily accepted his invitation and he took me to United Bakers on Spadina where I ate my FIRST Canadian meal. It was the first real hamaishe breakfast I had since being liberated from a concentration camp in Germany. This was such a memorable and important moment in my life as it was my first true experience with Toronto and Canada. For the last 64 years I have continued to return to United Bakers at least once a week and enjoy great dining with my family and friends. Everytime I return it brings back the wonderful memories of my first day in Canada and my first meal at United Bakers.
My husband and I come regularly to UB for dinner with our 2 grand children. At UB the service is always prompt, ALL waitresses are friendly, polite, easy to strike a conversation with, and the food is always the way we expect it.The variety on the menu makes dinners interesting. We recommend UB to our friends but most of them know about it already (you are famous) even if they live in other cities. Keep up the good job. Wish you and all staff health and best regards..
My fond memories are from the early 70's when I attended U. of T. from Peterborough. My Dad who used to own Benny's Square Deal at College & Brunswick in the late 30's & frequented UB, now lived in Peterborough. There he owned Bond Clothes Shop. Every Wednesday, my Dad drove to Toronto to buy merchandise from the wholesalers on Spadina Ave and took me for lunch or supper at United Bakers. The delicious home cooked meals were such a treat, especially the pea soup. I will always cherish those special times with my Dad at the haimish United Bakers.
Since the late 1960s, I have worked on Kensington Market, where my father owned a clothing store. I was a teenager who was still at school, but started my day at the market: delivering the merchandise, cleaning the store, and getting ready for opening. At 6 o’clock in the morning the market was already up and alive. Across from our shop there were three fruit and vegetable stores: Mandel, Baums and Leopold. Herman – the owner of United Bakers- was a regular at these stores, as well as at Daiter’s Creamery. Herman would be waiting every morning as the merchants arrived with their fresh produce, ready to carefully inspect their fruits and vegetables; he was known to pick only the freshest ones for his establishment. He did not trust anyone with this task. When Phil was old enough, he joined his father on these daily trips. They carried baskets of tomatoes, boxes of mushrooms and bags of fresh fruits. It made me chuckle to see these three vegetable stores “fiercely” compete for Herman’s business. Even as a teenager I admired his commitment to his customers. Many times I wondered how much he must love them because he only wanted to give them the freshest and the best. I always ordered the same breakfast at United Bakers: scrambled eggs, loosely done with sliced tomatoes and rye bread with kiml. No one could make it the way they did. It was done with love and care.
United Bakers was an institution on Spadina. They have continued the tradition up north at Lawrence and Bathurst – a little bit far for me. I loved when they were just around the corner.
Congratulations on your 100th anniversary.
Our daughter Kitty introduced us to the United Bakery which we called the “Bagel Place” for short. She seemed to know most of the people in the restaurant. Our first meal started with a bowl of pea soup with ‘lokshen’. When I think of it, I can still taste it. On Kitty’s advice we followed up with an egg-white mushroom omelet with French fries. Nowhere else were we ever served such long, skinny and delicious French fries. We liked it so much that it became our standard order and the friendly waitress that greeted us after we sat down in the booth said, “I know, pea soup and egg-white mushroom omelet.” We became regulars and enjoyed the friendly hubbub pervading the restaurant. Sometimes we got the impression of a large family gathering of familiar faces. Kitty introduced us to Ruthie, the most charming hostess.
I wish the Ladovsky family a hearty Mazel Tov and may “The United Bakery” continue successfully to go on for many more centuries!
My memories of United go back to Spadina Ave. In the 1950's.
Watching my dad, Herman, scramble eggs in a glass and cooking them behind the counter. The steaming hot eggs were served with bagel or toast, buttered in front of me from a steel bowl of soft yellow butter.I remember the end of the day, no more customers, the dishwasher lifting the wooden floorboards behind the counter to wash with his mop while Ruthie, Philip and myself, tried to spin all the blue vinyl counter stools to get them all going at once. Then looking for the cat before we went home at night so the cat could " watch the store". I also remember the glass window on the cupboard under the cash register which showed the chocolate bars. A reward we all loved from a place we all loved. Kind of like the ginger bread cookie display of today. Ruthie and Philip, you have created a unique place in our community for your customers.
United Bakers is truly amazing.
I am now in my 85th year. When I was a boy of 8 years of age, I lived at 308 Spadina Ave. in an apartment above a dry-cleaning store. A few stores north there was a "United Bakers" store. My Mother would send me twice a week to the bakery to get bagels. It was a small store with about six tables. Customers would come in for coffee and a bagel. Mr. Ladovsky, the owner, would give me hot fresh bagels – what a delight! He was a gentle soul and cheerful and I remember it was a joy to go there.We still continue to go to the Lawrence Ave. location for lunch or dinner with our children and grandchildren, who also enjoy the haimishe atmosphere and the delicious food.
One of our favourite moments at UB occurred about 20 years ago when our daughter Jillian worked there as a hostess. My parents, Rose and Henry Davis, keen to support Jilli in her new job, appeared for dinner one evening during her shift. She asked them (knowing the answer in advance, of course) if they preferred a seat in the Smoking or non-Smoking area. She quickly became accustomed to the UB clientele
Many years later, when our son Drew and his bride Dara were making their wedding plans, they knew that they wanted to have a casual, cozy family get-together on the Friday evening before their Saturday evening wedding. We were too large a group to be accommodated at home, and Dara, almost in gest, suggested that the ideal alternative with a 'just like home' ambience would be United Bakers. Ruthie and Philip agreed to reserve the back of the restaurant for us and to stay open longer than usual in honour of our simcha. They provided a delicious, plentiful, beautifully presented dinner, complete with printed menus (mentioning our favourite item – 'white fish delicious') and a Shabbat challah. The evening was a great success and a wonderful way to begin a weekend of celebration. We treasure the friendship and warm hospitality of the Ladovsky family!
In the 1940’s, my late father, Philip (Pinya) Monheit took me to the United Bakery on Spadina Ave. on a Saturday morning to have a fantastic piece of cheese pie and coffee. To this day, some 60 years later, I can still taste it.
In 1966, my Dad came out to Kitchener to visit us, and brought, by bus, a whole UB cheese pie. That was the last time I had it.
My wife and I frequent the Lawrence Plaza location often when we are in Toronto but unfortunately, no cheese pie.
Mazel Tov on 100 years.
During the late 1980’s and early 90’s, three loving sisters in their 70's plus, met, schmoozed and ate, every Saturday at three p.m. at their favourite meeting place in the Lawrence Plaza….. United Bakers! They spoke on the telephone morning, noon and night (checking up on each other) but nothing could replace the warmth and camaraderie that emanated from "Their Booth", taken care of by the ever kind and faithful Anna and Sanjay.To this day when we, their children, now in our 70’s, enter the ever welcoming portals of UB we are greeted and cosseted by the staff. Stories are told and retold of the three sisters who would only sit at a certain table, only eat certain special dishes and would only tip a certain amount. Memories are what capture the past and keep alive our passing parade. Philip, Ruth and staff do a great job of keeping the candle glowing! Thank you UB, may you celebrate many more anniversaries.
When I first met my husband, 58 years ago, we would go every Sunday for lunch to United Bakers on Spadina Ave. This was the highlight of our week and we would usually order our favorite dish, potato latkes and soup. Today, we still enjoy meals at UB in Lawrence Plaza, and still have the soup and the gefilte fish, which is delicious. It is the favorite restaurant for our five grandchildren and when they were asked on Chanukah, where they would like to go, it was unanimous UB. They did have the latkes, which they loved.
We wish you MAZEL TOV, may you continue for the next hundred years.
There is no other eatery to get a dose of homemade pea soup, a Greek salad & a pumpernickel bagel, than our very own United Bakers @ The Lawrence Plaza. The Silver clan have long been proverbial 'houseguests', @ the Ladovsky kids family restaurant. Last summer,my niece Anna Silver was visiting from Vancouver with my adorable great nephew, Max, & a very
tired,jet- lagged great nephew, Lev. United was especially busy this
day,with many generations of families bidding adieu to summer campers,
over a delicious lunch at the family friendly establishment. No need to peruse the menu,because after somany years of patronage, we all know it by heart, including what soups are made on what days , excluding out fave, pea, made daily to our delight. Lev, so tired cried non stop. Then, the miracle…..in the form of a 'United,' dark, pumpernickel bagel ! We put it in his hand,& he clasped it in his tight little fist. Out went the stroller, & a still crying Lev,clutching what was
to be our salvation. While I paid our bill, the gang continued to
push our sweetie ,outside United Bakers door. By the time I made my
way to my family, past a still long lineup of 'regulars', there I found
sweet Lev, fast asleep in his stroller,still clutching that 'United '
dark, pumpernickel bagel.
My late father-in-law would come out by train to visit us and he would invariably bring us a United Bakers' cheese pie, the likes of which I had never experienced before! Over the years we have travelled to Toronto frequently from Kitchener to visit with family and friends. United Bakers has turned out to be a favourite destination of ours for a dairy lunch, or early dairy dinner before a mid-week meeting in the "big" city. We never know who we'll see in the restaurant, and we've encountered many, many friends and relatives there that we haven't seen in ages.The split pea soup is deelish, the servers are real “pros”, and the atmosphere is what we are nostalgic for after living in Kitchener for over 46 years! Mazel Tov on 100 years!!!!
I grew up in the Kensington Market area and going to United Bakery with my parents was always a special treat. After we moved to North York the trips were less frequent. When UB opened at Lawrence Plaza my Mom and I were thrilled (Dad had already passed on). It became a special place for Mom and I to meet weekly for lunch or dinner. My Mom passed on a little over a year ago. In her later years, even as the dementia got worse, the one place she would remember was UB. I took her there until the very end. She would always make me wait for a booth to become available and she would always look around and marvel at how busy it was and tell me how she and my Dad would always go to UB when it was downtown. I would always have to take home an order of the pea soup for her before we left.The soup and egg and onion was what she always ordered.I hope you last another 100 years for future generations to enjoy.
We are a four generation United Bakers family.
Our first taste of their delicious,& comforting pea soup, was when
they welcomed us at their Spadina Ave. location. We've known the Ladovsky kids since school days,& were always greeted warmly by Ruthie & Philip. Whenever family came in from New York, Vancouver, or Shanghai, the new Lawrence Plaza location was where the whole family gathered. It is no surprise then, that my father chose United Bakers for his last Father's Day brunch with me. I believe he was crowding 90, & living in Assisted living residence. He was forgetful,& had the hallmark signs of dementia. I led him to the car, after shaving & freshening him up. However, he refused to put on his shoes,opting for his very worn ,but comfy slippers. "At United, they won't mind ", he grumbled. We arrived @ United, greeted warmly, & seated @ a favourite booth. By now,even cutting food was difficult for my father, & our waitress, who happened to see his shaking hands, attempting the almost impossible, came over & without saying a word, took his utensils & helped a declining patron, save his dignity…. That was the last outing for my Dad, but the memory of him in those slippers ,enjoying the cozy yet bustling atmosphere at United Bakers, has been filed in my memory box, along with the sweet & savory aromas,that continue to
welcome us to The Ladovskys inviting kitchen…
“The more things change; the more they remain the same” One of the most interesting streets in midtown Toronto is Spadina Avenue. Beginning at the southwest corner of Bloor Street stands the imposing JCC building. Recently renovated and brought up to contemporary standards, the building is witness to changing times.The influx of ethnic groups changed the demography somewhat but the area is still has a Jewish flavor.Further south on the west side of Spadina is a conglomerate of residential and commercial establishments ; while on the east side are some turn of the century dwellings as well as the large University of Toronto buildings. Further south we find Wilcox Avenue a beautiful tree-lined street with some Jewish presence. Further south Spadina loops around an architectural marvel, the School of Art of the University of Toronto. The immediate next stop is the intersection of College Street. It’s around Spadina and College that Jews coming from Eastern Europe established a mélange of outdoor fruit stalls, hardware stores, yardage and drapery stores, ice cream parlours, and more, Continuing south toward Dundas was Hyman’s Book and Art Store. Mr. And Mrs. Hyman were always there to engage you in
lively conversation in one or several languages. Within this area, the Jewish community established 4 synagogues (2 of which are still functioning today), a Talmud Torah and a Hebrew Day school at Brunswick and College Street.The influx of Eastern European immigrants resulted in the development of Kensington Market as a shtetl type market, encompassing a number of streets and alleyways with displays of
wares on the sidewalk to attract the attention of potential customers.On the east side of Spadina were several Jewish restaurants
including Shopsy’s, a virtual dream for deli lovers.On the west side of Spadina north of Dundas Street stood the United Bakers Dairy Restaurant. established in 1920 by Aron and Rose Ladovsky, grandparents of the current owners. During that time in 1945, I established Hirsh Dental Laboratories on the third floor at 328 Spadina, for the manufacture of dental prosthesis. This made me virtually neighbours with
the United, then operated by the founders’ son Herman Ladovsky. The restaurant was not large. There was a counter with some stools, as well as table service. At noon the place was packed with local people enjoying the specialties like soups, salads, potato pancakes; and of course, the heavenly cheese blintzes need no comment. All the transactions were on the honour system. Herman who stood behind the cash register would ask “What did you have?” He did a mental calculation and it all got worked out. And so it went on and on. It seemed at the time that nothing would intrude on the Jewish community’s tranquil life. But, the future marched on. An increased immigration of Chinese and ethnic Asians into the downtown core made real estate very desirable and valuable. Little by little the Jewish community re-settled in the northern part of the city and United Bakers moved to Lawrence Plaza, with a much larger venue, contemporary décor and up to date systems. As you look around you have the feeling that you have been here before: the table settings, the menu, the aromas, the portion sizes, especially of the soups. It is hard to believe but you conclude that the more things change, the more they remain the same. I think that
the recipes for these culinary specialties must be kept in the vaults of the National Archives in Ottawa for successive generations.
And, of course, the warmth and family friendliness remains a unique feature of the operation.Ruthie and Philip, you inherited a great tradition and you polished the gem. There is strength in numbers. It’s all for you and all about you. B’Hatzlacha
We had known each other peripherally about 40 years previously. Our lives were on different paths and besides, we were both married to others. It was dinner time and I was feeling down when I walked into United Bakers. As I looked around I suddenly heard my name called out, loudly. I was briefly dismayed – didn't want to interact with anyone – just wanted to be alone and enjoy my misery. This was not to be.
I looked up and there he was, Ralph Fen, a person from my past life, rising up from his table and inviting me to join him. I couldn't think quickly enough with a reason not to, so I sat down. He immediately grasped my right hand across the table and we began to talk, catching up on the last 40 years. I barely noticed that I was eating my soup with my left hand as he refused to release the right. (In all honesty, I don't remember even trying.)
We talked, totally unaware of the time, when we were interrupted and informed, politely but firmly, that it was closing time. Where had the last 3 hours gone!
Early the next morning he phoned and played a piano composition created for me at 4:00am. Romantic? You bet. We've been together ever since – and it all started at United Bakers.
Favorite menu item: pea soup and more pea soup!
I've been a frequent customer since your move to Lawrence Plaza and have enjoyed this friendly family meeting place and old fashioned jewish food, often with my late dad Max Appleby who always asked for the same servers, a mother and daughter duo who he kibitzed with.
My late brother Barry Appleby often told us his amusing stories of his meals at the Spadina Avenue location. The stories were so lively
we always felt we were there with him. And, at a recent lunch meal, Ruthie also commented on Barry's frequent mealtimes and his antics.
I love going to UB to celebrate my birthday. I go every year and get a chocolate cupcake. I also love the fact that everyone is so welcoming and every food is always prepared quickly when I’m in a rush. I love seeing all of my friends there and the fact that my Aunt and Uncle own it is amazing. I’m so lucky. Always all the waitresses are so helpful and kind. I hope that UB is still running for a long time.
In the late 1970s, I was a student at U of T and would often meet my father between classes for lunch at United. My father, a rabbi, didn’t often have the time to come downtown unless he was officiating at a funeral at Benjamin’s or visiting the sick in hospital. But when he was near Spadina, he always made time to meet me, and sent me back to class with a big sugar cookie, as if I were still a little girl. I always remember the cookies and the soup, and was fascinated by the elaborately pencilled eyebrows and platinum beehive hairdos of the waitresses. But most of all, I remember the precious lunch times spent with my father. Thank you for giving me a welcoming place to create those memories.
In May, 2010, the Gryfe family had a reunion to celebrate the 100th anniversary of my grandfather's arrival in Canada. What better way to re-create my grandmother's table and serve those things that she would have prepared, than to call Ruthie and Philip Ladovsky to cater the event. Everyone (even the young ones) were smacking their lips for the locshen and cheese, kasha and bows, gefilte fish and smoked fish which United Bakers supplied. Combining that with Gryfe's bagels and pizzas made everyone happy. Congratulations United Bakers. We look forward to celebrating our next milestone with you.
Since we've been bringing our children basically since they were born to United, my son Solomon, when he was really young, called grilled cheese "girl cheese". To this day, and he is now 15, the word "girl cheese" is firmly entrenched in our families vocabulary and we hear it three or four times a week when Solomon wants to call in an order for pickup of "girl cheese".
UB has become part of my personal history. I moved to Toronto in Aug. 1982 to begin a Job at Canadian Jewish Congress. My first day on the job I asked where to go for lunch and the entire office said. “Why United Bakers of course”. Day one meal one, the meals must now number in the thousands! The entire staff of the old 150 and 152 Beverly Street building that housed such prestigious Jewish institutions as the Ontario Region of the Canadian Jewish Congress, Toronto Jewish Congress (the precursor to UJA Federation), COR, Ontario Jewish Archives and the National Budgeting Conference ( today part of United Israel Appeal Federations Canada) were regular customers of UB. We shared soup, stories and bagels over breakfast and lunch. When the Beverley Street building was sold and agencies moved to the then New Lipa Green building at 4600 Bathurst, Ruth and Philip arrived on one of our very last days on 150 Beverly Street loaded with all our favorite cold menu items and held a good bye and thank you lunch for us all. We laughed we cried and all realized it was the end of an era. UB was one of the few remaining Jewish retail outlets in the area and it held the history of the Jewish community’s arrival in Toronto. The Ladovsky family has always been known for their big hearts. Those who crossed the ocean running from pogroms and poverty and those looking for a new start and better life for their children will happily tell you that UB was the place that would make sure regardless of your ability to pay, that you had a hot meal. “Pay when you can” was an often heard phrase in the early days. UB saw the newcomers to the city thrive and grow and eventually move north. With the move out of Beverly Street we took our UB memories and longed for that pea soup. Soon after our move north UB took over its space at Lawrence and Bathurst and our dreams of pea soup became a reality once more. I am happy to admit that two weeks ago I moved out of my comfort zone and tried my first order of vegetarian chopped liver….it is just as wonderful as the pea soup.
Thank you United….the dream continues.
The great Canadian actor, Douglas Campbell, and I went to UB for our regular lunch date. He was an ardent artist, socialist and vegetarian- which all went together with no explanations needed- and UB was the only place he would even consider.
When I look at the old picture of the restaurant that is hanging on the wall, I still think of that as the new place because I remember when that renovation was done! I remember, for some reason, going downstairs….. being in the downstairs before the renovation and it was cavey-like and after the renovation, again being downstairs and finding nothing had changed, not the kitchen in the back nor the basement.
I remember going to United Bakers — never U.B. — with my dad, and he always got the whitefish. I always hated how that looked but I was a kid!! Another kid I remember seeing there was Ruthie, but she was just a cute little girl to me….. not someone I talked to. I was shy.
I went to the restaurant a lot in those days because my dad owned a paint and paper store nearby. As the baby in the family, my dad took me around with him a lot. So when my dad got hungry, we went to United Bakers. Then, in 1958, he bought a building right opposite the restaurant. I was a teenager by then but we still kept going to United Bakers.
I also remember Morris Lefcoe. He was the old man and I knew he shared responsibilities for running the restaurant with Hymie Ladovsky. I know for sure they were both at my brother Harold’s bar mitzvah because they signed the guestbook. (There wasn’t an album from my bar mitzvah so I can’t say for sure if they were at mine…) Both of them were long-time friends of my father. Hymie told me they went to school together…..cheder together….
Right through the ‘60s we kept going because my family was developing the building on Spadina. My cousins Abe and Frances Goldberg, and their mom Ella lived one block north of the restaurant and that was another reason to spend time downtown.
Today my favourite meal is a bowl of pea soup and a bagel —what kind? Any kind. You choose. And today I am usually there with my wife.
I grew up on Oxford Street in the Spadina/College area. United Bakers was like a second home for many who grew up in that historic area. I remember when I was 8 years old (about 64 years ago!) that I would go to United Bakers with my Bubbe and Zayde to enjoy the delicious food. Thankfully, I am able to do the same with my grandchildren.
My father’s factory was a few doors south of United Bakers. I helped out in the factory while attending the University of Toronto and its law school. So, I was a frequent customer in the 1950's and 1960's. United Bakers is the only survivor of a group of Jewish centric restaurants which all were located around Dundas and Spadina. At breakfast and lunch, it was filled with Jewish “personalities” of the day. For example, lawyer Zuker and “union leader” Max Federman were two of its many daily customers. The food was great. More or less the same as today, although the menu today is more extensive. The only significant difference, besides location and size, is that nary a Yiddish word is now heard.
I started working on Spadina in 1967 and married into the Ladovsky family in 1969. As soon as I mentioned to my clients that Herman was my father-in-law, the same comments seemed to come from everybody. “He’s such a wonderful guy, his father Aaron was such a wonderful guy, they’re such a wonderful family. My father took me there when I was a kid. They never gave you a bill, it was the honour system, you just went to the register, told the cashier(usually Dora in busy lunchtimes in 70s 80s and 90s)what you’d had and then paid the appropriate amount. The place was an institution”. It certainly boosted my credibility with my clients. I became a quasi-‘Luntzman’.Being connected to UB always was, and still is, a very important part of my life.
I first started going to United in the early 60s with Harry Tepperman, a close friend of my father’s who had, in effect, raised me after my father, Benny Stein, died of a heart at attack at 44.
I had just started working at Maclean’s Magazine and every Friday, Tepperman and I met at United where we had lunch with friends from the groups that had sheltered and sustained Tepperman and my father, The OOC (our own club) and the Herring Club.
Herman liked to remind Harry that when he was a few years behind Harry in high school and Harry was going off to cadet drills, he would allow Herman to carry his rifle.
Rae the waitress knew everyone and Moishe, Herman’s partner, was still there. If you forgot your check when Moishe was at the till, you simply told him what you had eaten and he told you what you owed.
I thought of United as a bridge between generations, a place where younger people like me who were beginning professional careers, lawyers, doctors and in my case, a journalist, could meet and talk and argue with people who had made Spadina Avenue so important in Jewish life.
I think of the belligerent Max Federman from the radical garment workers union and the great J.B Salsberg who had spent most of his life in the Communist party and how they could sit happily at tables and discuss the state of the world with Moishe Halbert who worked all his life as a furrier on Spadina and his son Joel, and Harry Brandeis who owned the Bond Clothes chain the elegant Max Fingert from British Brand clothes and Israel Plattner who everyone said was a fine Yiddish poet but who refused to learn English and was bitter about why the world wouldn’t recognize him…Irving Garber, the printer and his son Larry, who was becoming an English professor
Max Fingert always stood out in our group because he was always so elegantly dressed. Max told us that he had won medals for clothing design when he was a young man in England but after serving in the desert with the British Army, he lost some of his ambition and was content to work as a manager at British Brand Clothes. Tailors in far flung shops called measurements into British Brands, much in the style of the old Tip Top Tailors but sometimes they neglected to pick up the suits. Max allowed friends to come to the show room and pick an unclaimed suit for a fraction of what it would have cost in a shop. The first time I went to the showroom with my wife, Alison, Max pulled a checked brown suit off the rack and said, “This is for you.” My wife was indignant. We weren’t going to buy the first suit he showed us. After I had tried on half a dozen suits, we went back to the one Max had picked for us. It was the right choice. Max’s sense of style was unerring and you could always pick him out among the lunch time crowd.
When John Sewell ran for mayor in 1978, I took him to United to meet people and he got mixed reviews but Max told me to bring him up to British Brand and Max would fit him out with a good suit.
In the 1980s. I started writing the city column in The Star and I became part of the breakfast crowd at United. After a workout at the Y, I would come by United for a breakfast bowl of soup, usually rich pea soup, a couple of slices of challah and a fruit salad. I think United was the only place in town where one could cross so many generational gastronomic frontiers.
When United moved north something of the old, fragrant clubby atmosphere was undoubtedly lost. But something was gained too. United became more a family restaurant and you saw many more women and even children there.
Every year, I ordered buckets of gefilte fish from Ruthie for our family Seder.
And bits of the old United remain. One day, I found Mel Lastman there after he had finished his hitch as mayor of the amalgamated Toronto. We talked a bit about the old days in North York and and how we were coping with retirement. Then Mel went on working the room. Politics was always part of the downtown United and I think it will always be part of the uptown United.
I have strong and fond memories of the old UB on Spadina, because when I first arrived from New York to interview for assistant Rabbi at Holy Blossom Temple, I was taken there for lunch to be shown the "real" Jewish Toronto. Once I decided to take the job I often went for Sunday breakfast, to feel a "part" of this community. I loved it; it reminded me of New York, of the Lower East Side which I frequented while in Rabbinical school, of the Jewish delis in Queens where I grew up, of the diner across the street from my apartment. It was familiar. It was home.
The new UB soon grew on me as a gathering place for "my people", for meetings, for appointments. It is part JCC, part shul, part country club, part ladies lunch, part old Toronto, part new suburbs, part downtown, part uptown. I loved it then and continue to love it now.
Rabbi Elise G
We were vacationing in Toronto and found a review of your restaurant on yelp.com. My wife had grilled sole that was cooked to perfection and my lox,cream cheese and twist bagel were of the highest quality and very satisfying. As American Chinese we were made to feel welcome and treated like old friends by Meira. What a great experience.
I have been a loyal patron for over 20 years and will continue to be one for the next 20 years. I think what I want to do is express to you that you are so centrally located and feel like a second kitchen to many families. Your food and the lovely atmosphere that you and your staff create makes your patrons feel comfortable, satiated and at home. My favorite item is the Large Greek Salad with spinach dressing.
I wish you the very best wishes on this lovely occasion and know you will continue to run a great establishment that can last another 100 years.
I was a kid from Scarborough living in a 'pay weekly' rented room on Parliament Street in the Big Smoke when I discovered a little walk-in storefront that transported me to times and places I'd never experienced. Going to school and writing about music in the Ryerson Eyeopener.
Spending a lot of time at the El Mocambo and Grossman's Tavern. I gravitated to Spadina in the evenings.But it was in the afternoons that I would pop into United Bakers for a bowl of soup. On a student budget of nil, nuthin, nada, zero, bubkes! it would fill me up with homemade goodness. My first bowl of Borscht was in this welcoming place.The ladies behind the counter were big talkative gals with European accents as thick as the soup.They wore those Old World lace-up shoes that support the ankles with toes exposed.
"Why you no finish lunch?" "Are you sick?" They'd demand if I'd left a crumb on my plate or a drop in my bowl.
My mother would have loved them.I started driving a cab to pay for schooling and allow myself to feel grown-up and independent, so I would stop in to treat my newly minted adult self to something else those ladies had introduced me to… cheese blintzes!
Fresh and hot and filling with sour cream and applesauce! Is there anything better after playing shinny outdoors?
I moved to Harbord Street and continued heading to United Bakers for sustenance. One time I really HAD been sick; and after a few days of fever I managed to drag myself in for soup."Where you been?" the mothering matron inquired. She looked after me as if I were her own.
Rather shy, I would sit in the corner and watch the world come in and out of the front door.
Mr. Ladovsky would say hello, as would Philip; and I would spy on Ruth as she worked behind the counter.
No I never got up the courage.I'm sure they had no idea the kid sitting and writing with his hot bowl in front of him was even there! I still carry those years around with me.(Hey, I am still a kid!) I have spent much time living in and travelling to all sorts of wonderful, challenging, exotic and sometimes dangerous places since then; and truly believe my chosen profession is somehow connected to that Spadina Avenue restaurant where I was welcomed and allowed to taste new things, and old things and dream.
Fast forward a couple of decades and I am lacing up the skates in the dressing room of a suburban Chicago hockey rink.
Hockey helps you make new friends. So do the blintzes apparently!
Ken Hundert tells me he too is from T.O.
"Have you ever been to United Bakers?" eventually gets asked.
"Of course" he responds; "The Old one or the New One?" .
The answer of course, is "Both".
We have been in touch ever since.
The best blintzes are still yours for so many reasons. Thank you United Bakers.
My parents and my sister Lily lived upstairs in the apartment in 1953. Since then I have been to the Bakery very often, almost once a week. They are very generous people and often host people from many charities for breakfast. One of them is Beit Halochem Canada, Aid to Disabled Veterans of Israel and we appreciate it greatly. We feel at home in this restaurant. They consider us all friends.
When we moved to Toronto 29 years ago from Montreal, we were alone in a new city with a 6 month old daughter, and we were building a new life here. We quickly discovered that United Bakers was somewhere we could go as a young family, which grew with twin boys 22 months later. Now 29 years later, our daughter has had a little baby girl, and one of her first outings at 6 weeks of age, was with her mom to United Bakers. She isn't eating anything there yet, but it is just a matter of time till she makes it part of her history too. Mazel Tov to all the wonderful people of United Bakers! We especially appreciate the warmth extended to us each and every time we go from Ruthie.
Keep on going from strength to strength!
When I was 9 months pregnant and 11 days overdue with my first child, my husband and I went for dinner at United. I had a greek salad – something I never eat since I am very sensitive to dairy products-but I was craving it. We left the restaurant at around 730. Around 930 that same night, I had horrible stomach pains. I thought for sure it was a bad reaction to the feta cheese. It only dawned on me a half hour later that I should be timing how far apart these stomach pains were. Sure enough – I realized that it wasn't the cheese but the baby! (I know that sounds ridiculous – I should I figured out I was in labour – but it was my first baby!) The next morning, a beautiful baby girl arrived. Whenever she asks me to tell her about the day she was born, I always start off with the United story. Since then, I have brought her, and her sister, many times to the restaurant for a quick and kid friendly dinner. The best part is the mess they make and I don't have to clean it! Mazel Tov.
Going to UB in the 70's with my parents was a special occasion. Mom a "typical yiddish mama" liked to cook and dad of course liked to eat her food. However I just loved going out for dinner for a change. No fancy schmancy for us, but good old jewish cooking. I guess we all love what we are familiar with. Well we found UB and everyone was happy. Mom said her food was better, Dad and I lied and agreed with her of course. Now after 40 years, I can tell the truth. You guys are the best. But please keep it to yourself. My Mom might be listening.
I was 17, and in 1952 I started my first bookkeeping job at Shopsowitz Delicatessen on Spadina Avenue. My co-workers took me for the first morning coffee break at "UNITED BAKERS". I remember walking through the door, the cash register on the left side, with two smiling faces behind the wonderful pastries. I was from the east end, and it was new to me. For the next 3 years I came to love my morning coffee and toasted cinnamon bun. Thats what I remember…in the 50's
Your UB story: My son and I would go the South YMHA every Sunday and then have lunch at UB. We would look forward to the wonderful food and the regular customers. Usually we would see Ed Mirvish and his wife at thebakery. I am a retailer and being able to talk to Ed about our mutual interests was fantastic, and my son circulated, talked to everyone andalways looked forward to our special time at United. He was five years old then – today he is twenty-nine and still remembers these special lunches.
We all believe that United Bakers Dairy is our favourite destination for the best soups in Toronto! These soups are nourishment for both our bodies and souls. Bravo – they are a menu in themselves – also we love the greek salad and the baked and smoked whitefish salads.
Here are some special moments we cherished over the years of coming to United Bakers:
– joining with our late Uncle J.B. to enjoy a bowl of soup and lunch, as he greeted and chatted with all his contemporaries who dropped by to visit
– getting together for a meal with our late parents, & late grandparents to enjoy a meal and conversation amongst the hubub of everyone talking
– driving straight from Pearson Airport to United Bakers on the way to visit family – United Bakers was the pit stop on the way home, and also a place to pick up some special treats for later, i.e. rugallach, ginger bread cookies, mandel broit or servings of soup.
Best wishes on your 100th birthday, and may you all continue to serve and nourish our community for many years to come.
My parents,my brother and I moved to Toronto in 1948 from Whitby. On many occasions my dad would take me for lunch to Ladovsky's United Bakery where inevitably he would meet up with old friends either from the "old country" or from his earlier days in Toronto.Ladovsky's was a good meeting place to catch up on the news or gossip of the day. My father's great respect for Aaron and Sarah Ladovsky began during The Great Depression. When people were having difficulty finding work and putting food on the table, United Bakery had piles of bread and mounds of butter and people in need could help themselves,a generous and sincere act of kindness.To this day children and grandchildren of those people come to The United Bakery to enjoy the very tasty,fresh food. My very best best wishes to Ruthie and Phillip. My dad would be very happy for you.
When Sam and I moved to Toronto (55 years ago) from the U.S., one of the first restaurants we visited was UB-it has been "like home" ever since!
Without fail, every time I am at UB, and I am there often, I remember my Buby. Beginning in 1981 when Sarah, my first daughter was born, I would pick my Buby up every Friday morning and the three of us would go for breakfast. Eventually Charley, my second born daughter, would become a part of the Friday breakfast routine. Helen who is still there to greet us to this day was the beneficiary of many
magnilìcent pieces of art created by my girls.Buby Ann would enjoy her great granddaughters company and the company of the
wonderful staff at United and then we would head out for the long walk with little
baby steps, to the No Frills at the other end of the plaza. lt’s no wonder UB is celebrating 100 years. They have kept alive their warm and
welcoming ways over the generations.
One of my most pleasant memories as I was growing up at College & Grace is meeting my mother after work on Spadina. On special days, we would go to United Bakers for a bowl of pea soup and a toasted bagel. Every time I smell the aroma of pea soup at United Bakers, it reminds me of those grand days I spent with my mom on Spadina.
On day I showed up for lunch, had no money, because you could eat and come back on payday and pay. So I eat and left and on payday 2 days later I return told the cashier what I had and paid for my lunch.This was common knowledge to everyone that worked in the Garment district; and the amazing thing is this went on without any written bill. We have followed UB from Spadina to Lawrence Ave for over 70 years as our favorite Dairy Restaurant.
Congratulations for 100 years of success and great customer service.
Every summer, a group of children from Israel come to visit Canada to celebrate their bar/bat mitzvah. They are 12 or 13 years old, and all have a parent or sibling who was injured or killed while on military duty or by terrorist attacks in Israel. United Bakers restaurant excitedly and happily prepares for their arrival. A delicious and healthy breakfast is made, while we speak and interact with the kids about their lives. This is followed by a tasty lunch. The children are enthusiastic from all the attention they receive and are surprised to hear many people from the restaurant speak Hebrew!
My connection with United Bakers Dairy Restaurant goes back a mere 25 years or so, to the day that we shook hands on the agreement that brought your restaurant to Lawrence Plaza. It was a great deal, I think, for both parties. From my point of view, United Bakers gave the Plaza a heart, as it became a warm and friendly community hub over the years. I seldom set foot in the place without seeing several people I know. I extend my hearty congratulations on this auspicious occasion, and my wishes for many more centuries of success.
My Dad who passed away last year, was a very dapper gentleman. Every Sunday he would dress up for our brunch at United Bakers. We would stand in line for a couple of minutes before he was recognized and escorted to a table. The wait staff fawned over him and he loved the attention. Ruthie would drop by to say hello and afterwards my Dad would always say, “See, she likes me!” And as always, he would order the lox and cream cheese and I would say “hold the onion”. I will always treasure the memory.
Your serving staff are like “mishpacha” to me and I treat them that way too. When I walk into UB its as though I’m coming home for a meal. Ruthie and Philip you are such wonderful people. I love it when Ruthie’s smiling face stops by our table for a chat. You give, give, give in the community and in return we give back. I give back because I truly admire and respect you both. As long as UB is around, my family and I are there.
It’s a half hour drive from my place to UB but I make it at least twice a week. That’s because the delicious food tastes like it always did – like it should! No chef in the throes of passion has added truffle oil to the eggs or lavender to blintzes. It is one of the few things you can count on in this warp speed world. All the best.
I’m a visitor from Jerusalem. Your restaurant is delightful and Helen who worked at our table is delightful. What a pleasure.
I can remember being a patron of United Bakers on Spadina Avenue for 80+ years. In the late 1920s when I was 5 years old my father was a Union Organizer and conducted meetings Sunday mornings at the Labour Lyceum next door to United Bakers on Spadina. He took me with him most of the time, and after a meeting we would go to “united” and I would get a treat. I remember this very well.
The last outpost of the Jewish Tradition. Food, family, friends all blended in the enjoyment of childhood memories of everyone’s Zaidies & Bubbas. Watch Toronto Jewish life shuffle and walk by. Sit with poverty and billionaires, all equal in the face of bagels, lox, lochshin and kasha.
I delivered bread for Tractors Bakery to your Grandfather 75 years ago. I met your Dad Herman several years later when I brought the first group of Disabled Veterans from Israel in 1978 to Toronto for a visit. Your Dad Herman insisted I bring them to UB for breakfast on Spadina and then Ruthie & Philip carried on this tradition at Lawrence Plaza. This is the only activity in the itinerary in the 34 years that has not changed.
Some of my favorite foods are waffles, French toast, pancakes, eggs (any type). I love waffles the most because I pour syrup in every hole and dump it in the next waffle but there is still syrup left in the first waffle. I love UB
We've been coming for 13 years on Tuesdays for lunch. We have a very tight schedule 50 minutes to come, eat, and return to school; We always make it thanks to your wonderful staff. I taught my grandson Jack, aged 5 fractions by dividing up cookies. He learned then ate up the cookie. Many thanks for all the fresh and delicious food.
My greatest enjoyments were chatting to Herman (also known as Hy) and sharing a shot of "tea" with him. Also I thoroughally enjoyed some "pearls" of Torah with Mr. Lefkowitz who was full of knowledge and wisdom and who can forget the debates that occurred each lunch time between Lawyer Zucker and Rabbi Shemen on Torah, like in the dates of our beloved Sages.
In the 1970s I had a visitor from Monaco who I asked if she had ever eaten blintzes. With great gusto she replied what a marvellous choice that would be so off we went to United Bakers. Needless to say we had the "perfect" lunch.
When I was involved in community work we would meet at UB early in the am. Ask anyone who knew me then – UB was "my office". Now we are 4 generations at UB. Hope it goes on forever.
Growing up in Ottawa, there was no restaurant like the United Bakers Dairy Restaurant. After moving to Toronto as young bride over 50 years ago and having a family we always enjoyed going to UB. My grandson refers to it as "Bubbie's restaurant". It has become "my home away from home". What a great place!
My Father was a good friend of Aaron Ladovsky. He often spoke to Aaron and Sarah probably from the earliest years of United. When my sister would come to visit from St. Catherine's I often picked her up at the bus terminal. Our first stop was always United for lunch!
I am a customer of this restaurant since I came to Canada in July 1960. I love the food you are serving – it has a delicious 'taam'. It reminds me of my home in Poland and what my Mother was serving. Good luck and to another hundred years.
I came to Canada in January 1948, my Uncle took me to Ladovsky's on Spadina Ave for lunch. I have been a partron since that day.
The Benjamin Family have been associated with United Bakers since our older son immigrated to Canada in 1987 and was introduced to UB. Since then our 3 children, their spouses and 6 grandchildren all love UB and find any excuse to go there. Its also our number one tourist attraction. Friends and family from all over the world declare they have never been to such a great deli. We always feel welcome with the friendly service, Jeya's smiley face and Ruthie's warm interest in our family. We wish you all at UB continued success and may we have many more years at the United Bakers.
In 1945 I was liberated from Buchenwald. I arrived in Canada in 1948 and worked on Spadina Ave. and going home we always stopped at Ladovsky's. Aaron and Sarah stayed behind the counter always with a smile. Aaron had such a gentle face. We always talk about Ladovsky's – always.
United Bakers was a home away from home for everyone. The delicious baked goods, the best gefilte fish. I can still smell the aroma when we walked into the store. My mother and father loved taking us in for lunch and supper. The Ladovsky family was everybody's family – very well liked, kind, considerate – keep it up you are doing a great job.
Many a multi-generational meal has been enjoyed, with countless
bowls of soup (Fridays are the best: cabbage borscht, hold the potatoes!) and
Greek salads (mixed, dressing on the side!). UB has been part of our family from
the beginning, and long may it continue.
I have always regarded Ladovsky’s or United Bakers as it is now known as a meeting place. In the
beginning while on Spadina Avenue, this small dairy restaurant was a gathering place for the Spadina
business and garment industry people. Ladovsky’s was always very busy at breakfast & lunch. The food
was always the best. Ladovsky’s was next door to the Labour Liceum so many of those folk came in for lunch. I recall that
Ruthie & Phil’s grandmother was the cook. The grandfather was mostly in the bakeshop as a baker.
They were hard working people. I recall that Mrs. Ladovsky was a short woman who was only Yiddish
speaking. Most of the customers spoke Yiddish at that time. I always enjoyed going there because it
was so hamisha and Yiddish. The dish I remember the most were the baked apples with cinnamon.
Back then they didn’t make bagels but I remember their delicious bread, rolls & Kaiser buns.
I went there very often because I went to the Minsker Shul which was around the corner on St.
Andrew’s Street. It was the centre of the Jewish community of the time. I can honestly say that their
food was fresh, enjoyable and they had all the Jewish dishes that we enjoyed in our homes. It wasn’t so
much a place that you would sit for hours but rather a place for a quick meal & to see friends over the
lunch hour. My father Palteil worked for the Ladovsky family as a baker around 1915. He baked bread, rolls and
the Kaiser buns I enjoyed. It was a difficult time to find work & he was always grateful to the Ladovsky
family for the work. Their reputation to those that have known Ladovsky’s & United Bakers is that they have always
maintained high quality in their food, high quality in their service. They are the best dairy restaurant
in Toronto. They have wonderful help. Congratulations to Ruthie & Phil on the 100 th Anniversary of
United Bakers. Best of luck on the years ahead!
My first time eating at UB was when I was but a few weeks old, propped on the table in a multi-colored bassonette surrounded by all the women in my family. Since then UB has become more than just a staple eatery, but rather it has proven itself to be a warm community of people I would easily consider to be a part of my family. As UB has been there with our family on every birthday, Mother's Day, camp departure and so forth I'm thrilled to be able to take part in its much deserved centennial celebration. As my Safti always says, here's to another "hundert un tsvantsik" (120!) Lots of love from our family to yours.
Congratulations to you and your family on an incredible achievement. When I try to think about what United Bakers has meant to my family, the words that come to mind are "a meeting place for the generations". On any given day you might have me, my mother, my aunt and uncles, my cousins, my children and grandchildren or all of the above. United has become as important a gathering palce for my family as my house is for Friday night dinner. There is no other restaurant in the city that is so accomodating and comfortable for anyone ages 0-100. Keep up the good work for at least another 100 years!!!
We, our children and grandchildren, have for many years enjoyed excellent meals served in a warm and friendly atmosphere and plan to do so for many more years. Some of our daughters in law are sure your pea soup helped initiate labour on their due date.
Best personal regards.
On opening day of the United Bakers in Lawrence Plaza my wife and I stopped in to have breakfast. Not only did we enjoy our meal but that day we developed a lifetime friendship with the Ladovsky family. What a deal, we went in for breakfast and ended up with an extended family. Congratulations to the entire Ladovsky family on your first 100 years and best wishes on your continued success for the next 100.
Forty- six years ago Abby Pesses was something of a legend to clueless female U of T philosophy students. Individually, he would treat us to supper at the United Bakers. Over blintzes and kinishes and fries, he would unlock the mysteries of the spheres that connected winged horses and John Locke and David Hume and others, making it all sound so simple. Where first year Soc and Phil was about as thick as beet borsch to this cadre, Pesses rendered it as clear as the broth of the United Baker's pea soup.
I started going to United Bakers when I started working, 29 years ago, for the Toronto Jewish Congress (now UJA Federation of Greater Toronto) at the old Jewish community services building on Beverley St. I was new to Toronto and learned from a group of fellow TJC staff I regularly lunch was where the best places for to dine. At the top of the list? The haimish, delicious, iconic “United” on Spadina Ave. it was love at first sight! I was single at the time, and subsequently my husband and children have also become lifelong fans! Your wonderful ladies behind the counter, Vicky among them, as well as Ruthie and Phillip, have made our family feel so welcome and they have nurtured and watched my children grow up for the past 20 years. To this day my 15 year old son's favorite meal is a UB kiddie grilled cheese (and now he orders two)!! These days I love meeting donors and volunteers at United… and saying hi to so many friends and other familiar faces as we walk toward our table. To me, United Bakers is part of the history and fabric of this wonderful Jewish community that I've come to love and call my own over the last 29 years.