JAHSENA Archives

Archives Unleashed 2007 Virtual Exhibit

There were a good number of small towns and villages in northern Alberta in the first half of the century where Jews made their homes and started their first businesses. Often there would be a single Jewish family and they usually owned a general store.

While the general store was the popular choice for a business, there were also Jewish clothing stores, Jewish doctors embarking on their first practice, a Jewish teacher and nurse could be found in rural areas, a number of Jewish farmers and those who raised and sold cattle, fur traders and some hotel owners and auto dealers. There were also Jewish pedlars housed in Edmonton, who traveled their small town routes and were treated as long-lost relatives when they met other Jews in a town or village.

In most of these towns, Jews were active in the general life of their communities and served in chambers of commerce, town councils and in some instances as mayors of communities. Although they lived under conditions that separated them from larger Jewish communities, they did not abandon their religious beliefs, customs and traditions. Many made the long treks to Edmonton or Vegreville to celebrate the Jewish holidays and visit with relatives or to buy kosher meat.

Norman, Hal, Sid and Sam Simons with Noots the Dog. In front of the family general store, The Round Hill Trading Company, 1942.

JAHSENA Archives, donated by Paula Simons.

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The Simons (Simovitvch) family, Round Hill, Alberta

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