In 1918, Kalman Silverstein moved to Canada from Poland and brought with him his family’s secret rye bread recipe. He opened a small bakery on Baldwin Street in downtown Toronto where he baked breads and pastries in a brick oven. The main floor housed the storefront, while his young family lived upstairs.
Silverstein’s Bakery started as a small neighborhood business. Kalman baked bread and a variety of delicious pastries that were delivered throughout the community by horse and buggy. He became known not only for his famous rye bread and mouth-watering cinnamon rolls, but also for his generosity. Each Friday night Kalman would close his shop for the Sabbath. Knowing however that many of his neighbors couldn’t afford ovens of their own, he would leave the ovens hot and let families come to the bakery to cook chickens for their Sabbath dinners.
By the 1930′s, Kalman’s two eldest sons, Dave and Murray, joined him in business. As Toronto’s economy grew prosperous more and more restaurants began to open, paving the way for the Bakery’s expansion. Silverstein’s was no longer a mere neighborhood delivery service; the business began catering to numerous restaurants and delicatessens.
When restaurants and delicatessens opened on Spadina Avenue, fresh baked rye bread was requested seven days a week. Silverstein’s had become known as “Toronto’s Best Rye Bread” and Silversteins started delivery everyday to these establishments.
In 1939 when the war began, Dave and Murray were sent off to fight. Kalman’s youngest son, Sonny, who was only nine years old at the time, began accompanying his father on deliveries. Years later when his older brothers returned, Sonny stayed working at the business. Dave and Sonny started a tradition of going to watch the Toronto Maple Leafs play every Saturday night before returning to the bakery for late-night deliveries.
The three brothers eventually took over the business and in 1953 moved the bakery to a new plant at 195 Mccaul Street. They decided to stop producing pastries and rather to focus on hearth baked artisan breads and rolls.
Over the next ten years, Silverstein’s began selling at most of Toronto’s retail stores. As one of the first bakeries in the city to deliver pre-sliced loaves of artisan bread, grocers like Loblaws, A&P, Dominion and Beckers began shelving the products daily.
The bakery became known for its creativity and willingness to cater to customer’s unique needs. Naturally, when the first Submarine store opened in Yorkville in the early 1960′s, Silverstein’s was asked to produce a 12-inch bun. Over the next few decades, as Sub shops began to pop up all over the city, the bakery produced buns for more than 100 franchises.
Today, the business is run by a third generation of Silversteins â€“ Sonny’s three sons, Brian, Jeff and Mark. The bakery has grown to serve food service companies, hotels, banquet halls and convention centers all throughout the Greater Toronto Area.
Just like when it began in 1918, Silverstein’s Bakery uses all natural ingredients without preservatives or trans fat to produce the best tasting bread. Kalman’s secret family recipe has stood the test of time, as Silverstein’s is still known for having “Toronto’s Best Rye Bread.”