A Greektown on Yonge?

The Site at 349 Yonge, Where Frank Bazos' Restaurant Once Stood
The Site of Bazo’s Restaurant on the SLC Site (349 Yonge Street)

Businesses can also form gateways onto Yonge, as they encourage economic participation with mainstream society.  Through businesses, new immigrants were able to contribute to the plethora of services available on Yonge Street.

A Greek Restaurant Owner Standing With his Storefront

A Greek Restaurant Owner Standing With his Storefront

During World War I, Greek refugees came to Toronto to escape the economic hardship in Greece during the War.  Because of conflicts between the Greek Monarchy and Parliament, Greece remained neutral during the war, and as a result citizens suffered from a lack of international economic participation, which trickled down to the local level.

A large portion of the immigrants to Canada were single men looking to establish businesses temporarily in Canada to send money back home.  Language and educational barriers prevented the Greek immigrants from holding administrative and professional positions, leading them to work as waiters, manual labourers and factory workers.  Greek immigrants benefited from a wartime “gap” in essential services (such as grocery stores, restaurants, etc.) that allowed them to establish small businesses free of competition.

Beckers Milk

Becker's Milk

Many of these Greek-owned businesses were established along Yonge street.  C.J. Bazos was one of these men.  He was born in Greece but grew up in Chicago before moving to Toronto to establish his restaurant “Bazos Bros. Restaurant” at Yonge and Gould (on the new Student Learning Centre Site).  The Bazos family was highly successful in Toronto.  In fact, his brother, Frank revolutionized the way Canadians buy milk– at a convenience store– with his established business: Becker’s Milk, which is still around today.

Choose Next: The Jewish Ward, A Slum off Yonge? or Conclusion, Scrutinizing Gateways

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About Ryerson On Yonge

A course in the Faculty of Arts, we have been studying the history of the neighbourhood around Yonge and Dundas, and Ryerson campus, in order to consider the social context and cultural importance of the new Student Learning Centre, which will occupy 341 through 355 Yonge Street. This blog is not an official Ryerson publication, and is a student-composed analysis of campus and its neighbourhood.
This entry was posted in The Heart of Downtown: Yonge Street as Gateway. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Greektown on Yonge?

  1. Pingback: The Heart of Downtown | Ryerson On Yonge

  2. Pingback: Coming Together at Yonge and Dundas: Liberation, Subcultures, and Media. | Ryerson On Yonge

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