Louis L. Tepperman

Lou Tepperman speaking at podium, 1980.

Born in 1934, Louis “Lou” Tepperman was raised in Toronto’s Kensington Market. Though he worked as a chartered accountant, his collection, donated to the Ontario Jewish Archives, illustrates his passion, skill, and interest in documenting the everyday experiences of friends and neighbours from this close-knit community.

In a 1981 JS Enquirer article published shortly after his passing, his daughter Shelley Tepperman remembered him as having a “prodigious memory which was a storehouse of names, places, obscure details and unique stories.” The stories which Tepperman found the most compelling were accounts of the many colourful and varied events that occurred within and around the market during his adolescence which he chronicled in his personal and published writings. Of note are his writings on the Ryerson Public School graduating class of 1948. For the school’s one hundredth anniversary, Tepperman wrote a Toronto Star article recounting his own experiences. Though substantially shortened for print, the original eleven-page “Memories of Ryerson Public School” showcases his talent as a writer and his ability to describe personal memories while balancing sentiment, wit, and a genuine appreciation for community.

The archived letters, photos, and memorabilia from the clubs and committees Tepperman was a member of throughout his lifetime demonstrate his active and foundational involvement in these groups. In his teenage years, he was a junior member in Club Baldwin, a YMHA program that became a significant social network for young adults around the Kensington area. The club would continue to hold a lasting connection among members beyond their teenage years, including Tepperman who became chairman of the reunion committee for Club Baldwin’s thirty-third anniversary. Community involvement remained important to him.

From 1964–1981, Tepperman held an executive role in the B’nai Brith Circle Lodge and was a frequent writer and eventual editor for the club’s newsletter The Oracle.

In his later years, Lou worked on what would be his final, and arguably most significant, contribution to the Kensington community: The Kensington Market Establishment, a book planned for publication that would document the socio-geographic state of the area from the 1920s–1950s through the eyes of its very own inhabitants. Several drafts of the project can be found in his collection, including various anecdotal writings, reminiscences, and hand-drawn maps detailing with precision the residents and businesses of the market during the 1940s.

Archivist Notes

Through his anecdotal writings and maps, Louis L. Tepperman’s collection reconstructs a detailed cultural, geographic, economic, and political description of the Kensington Market district throughout the mid-1900s. It provides source material for various projects and research studies concerning the history of the market and its Jewish community. His maps allow researchers to identify the location and importance of various buildings significant to their studies. The personal approach to Tepperman’s documentation of the neighbourhood offers a particularly unique study, offering a close look on the everyday life and development of a community.

Lou Tepperman speaking at podium, 1980.

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