Story here: Walter Bick was a Jewish coat-maker at a time when Canada wanted Christian farmers. Sadly, there was once a time when, even with Hitler rattling sabres and spewing anti-Semitism, Canada could get away with denying entrance to Jews because of their religion.
Walter Bick’s only ticket into Canada was as a Christian farmer.
A lifelong pragmatist, he didn’t let the minor details — his Jewish faith, his occupation in the woman’s coat industry — get him down.
So in 1939, the Bick family — Walter, Thomas and their parents — left an increasingly hostile Europe behind, posing as a family of farmers who believed in the New Testament.
Before they left Amsterdam, they purchased the farm. While other faux-farming Jewish families sold the farms upon arrival, the Bicks made good on the lie, learning to farm and eventually creating a pickle empire.
They ended up farming in Scarborough, Ontario, which I guess is why the Bick’s Pickle factory is still there on Progress Road.
He also helped found the Jewish Vocational Services, an organization that helped Jewish people find jobs, which, he later remarked, was a lot harder than selling pickles.