Solomon (Sol) Edell (1919–2000), was born in Toronto to Pesach (Paul) Edell and Malka (Molly) Edell. His grandfather, Rabbi Yosef (Joseph) Weinreb, was the first chief rabbi of Toronto and served as the rabbi of Shomrai Shabbos Congregation.
Sol graduated from the Toronto College of Pharmacy, University of Toronto, in 1943 while on leave of absence from the army signal corps. He initially pursued a career as a pharmacist and opened Edell’s Drug Store (later renamed Elmhurst Drugs), the first shomer Shabbat drug store in Etobicoke. In the 1950s, he founded the property development company, Elmdale Investments. Sol married Dolly Weinstock in 1952; they had four children. Dolly passed away after ten years of their marriage. In 1966, Sol married Celia Rogen Hoffman.
Sol was an impressive figure within the Toronto Jewish community, to which he made great contributions. He was a founding member and first president of the Clanton Park Congregation and continued to be affiliated with Shomrai Shabbos and Adas Israel Synagogue (Hamilton). As a passionate Zionist, he served as the founding chair of the Aliyah Support Committee of the Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto and was an active member of the Mizrachi organization and its affiliated institutions.
As a dedicated amateur historian-archivist, Sol was instrumental in helping establish the Archives Committee of the Canadian Jewish Congress, now known as the Ontario Jewish Archives! He was actively involved in various projects for the OJA, such as the Sense of Spadina walking tour, and worked closely with others on the reconstruction of the Kiever Synagogue. He also played a pivotal role in the relocation of the OJA from our former headquarters at 150 Beverley Street to our current home at 4600 Bathurst Street. In keeping with his philanthropic spirit, Sol also provided financial support to a wide variety of religious, educational, and social service organizations, including the Baycrest Museum and the Canadian Jewish Historical Society.
The Sol Edell fonds is a multimedia collection that illustrates Sol’s accomplishments in the business industry, his support for Zionism, and his strong connections to the Toronto Jewish community through his communal work and commitment to the preservation of Jewish cultural heritage. Records documenting the early administration and activities of the OJA are valuable assets to the OJA’s holdings and have high research value, both internally, and for those who are interested in the history of the OJA and how this institution fit within the broader archival landscape in the 1970s and 1980s. As one of the OJA’s founders, having Sol Edell’s collection here at the OJA is more than symbolic of his lasting dedication to preserving local Jewish history.