Dr. John E. Ackerman

Dr. John E. Ackerman with his film camera, [195-]. Ontario Jewish Archives, accession #2013-7/13.Dr. John E. Ackerman was born in Toronto on 16 December 1921 to Jacob and Mindel Ackerman. John was one of four children. Jacob worked as a presser in a factory. Mindel opened and ran a small grocery store at Dundas and Elizabeth Streets. Jacob died around the age of fifty-seven. 

Dr. Ackerman went to school at Jarvis Collegiate and later enrolled in dentistry school at the University of Toronto. As part of the school program, Dr. Ackerman enlisted in the Canadian army's General Corp. While in school, he also met his future wife, Frances, at a Hillel lecture on campus. Frances was a graduate student studying psychology. After graduating from university in 1946, Dr. Ackerman initially worked as a dental intern at the Toronto General Hospital. After a few years he opened his own practice above the Royal Bank at Dundas and Elizabeth Streets.

Dr. Ackerman married Frances on 12 September 1954. They had three children together: Martin (born 1959), Penina (born 1963), and David (born 1965).

As a young teenager, Dr. Ackerman took up photography as a hobby and remained passionate about it for the remainder of his life. His vast photograph collection documents his family life, Toronto, his military involvement, and other activities. He also shot many family films and even converted part of his house into a darkroom.

Dr. Ackerman became involved in the Jewish Boy Scouts after his son Martin became a cub.  He was active in Troop 166 out of Beth Tzedec. Frances initially worked in the outpatient department of the Toronto Psychiatric Hospital but later worked with the Toronto District School Board until her retirement. Dr. Ackerman retired his practice in 1995 or 1996. He passed away on 13 December 2008.

Click images to enlarge