Oakridge: the Final Frontier

26 Jun 2014
Posted by ewenner


Welcome to the exciting new blog for this summer’s upcoming exhibit at the Jewish Museum and Archives of BC! My name is Elana Wenner, and I will be updating this spot as we progress through our research here at the JMABC. But first, a little information on what this is all about…

Who I Am

I am originally from Vancouver, and have been living in Montreal for the past 7 years. I graduated from McGill University in 2011 with an Honours degree in Judaic Studies, and a minor in Middle Eastern Languages. I am now working on a Masters in Judaic Studies at Concordia University, with a focus on Canadian Jewish history. My thesis will explore the history of the Jews in Saskatchewan, spotlighting the journey of my own ancestors, the first of whom arrived on the “shores” of Saskatchewan in 1888. (For those of you playing Jewish Geography, my parents are Richard Wenner and Gail Dodek Wenner; my grandparents are Irene and Mort Dodek, and Lil and Bob Wenner) Why I am Here Through a generous grant from the Government of Canada’s “Young Canada Works” program, I am being sponsored as a student intern at the JMABC this summer. This grant allows us to create exciting new projects every summer, which contribute to the breadth of our archives, and allow for more focused exhibits on the rich history of Vancouver’s Jewish community.

About This Exhibit

The project I am working on this summer is an online exhibit called “Oakridge: the Final Frontier”. Over the next few months, I will be researching the history of the Jews in the Oakridge area. During the ‘60s and ‘70s, Oakridge was considered the Jewish hub of Vancouver. Housing over 22% of the Vancouver Jewish population in 1971, Oakridge also became a magnet for Jewish institutions. Over the course of time, the people eventually moved out, but the institutions remain. My goal this summer is to find out why so many Jews moved to this area, what life was like for them during the heyday of Jewish Oakridge, and what compelled them to leave.

How You Can Help

There is lots of information out there on this subject, but we need your help! If you or someone you know lived in Oakridge at a time when many Jews lived there please contact us for an interview. We would love to hear what you have to say! We are also looking for pictures, artifacts, and any and all information about Oakridge that we can find. Didn’t live in Oakridge but think this project is really exciting? Please share this blog on your social media! We will take all the publicity and help we can get. Thanks for stopping by! And don’t forget to check back weekly for more updates on… Oakridge: the Final Frontier