North York bakery opened 130 years ago in London

The original owner’s great-grandson carries on the tradition

When Grodzinski Bakery started in London, England, in 1888, the owners hawked kosher baked goods door-to-door from a horse-drawn cart. In the ensuing decades, three bakeries were established across England. Daniel Grodzinski, the great-grandson of the original founder, emigrated to Toronto with his family, and they opened up a shop on Bathurst Street in North York, in 1999, and in Thornhill in 2002. Daniel shares his family’s legacy and how Grodzinski has established a name for itself here in Toronto. 

Were you well known when you moved to Canada?
I think a number of people in the small Orthodox Jewish community knew us from our bakeries in London. When we came here, people asked, “Oh, are you connected to the one in London?” But as we developed, and certainly in the last five to seven years, we’ve made a name for ourselves outside of the Orthodox community. 

Most popular item?
We sell about 10,000 challah loaves every month. We supply a number of Jewish schools with challahs for their challah programs where students take home a challah for the sabbath every week.  

What are some of the legends from the old country?
In the ’30s, Grodzinski had a delivery cart and it was horse-drawn. One day, the driver didn’t come to work. My father didn’t know where all the deliveries were, but he was told, “The horse knew.” The horse did it every day.

Sure enough, the horse knew. So my father would go in and give the people bread, get on the horse and carry on. But nobody had told him that at the end he had to tie the horse up because the horse knew when to go home to eat. After the last delivery, the horse knew that it was time to go home, so he’d gone home and left my father where he was!

Grodzinski Bakery, 3437 Bathurst St., 416-789-0785

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