From 1883 to 1897, this three-storey brick building, built in 1867 to the designs of architect John Power, was the home-base for Simon Oberndorffer’s cigar business. Oberndorffer’s factory was on Ontario Street, at the corner of Queen. This site may have served as one of his retail outlets or as a cigar-rolling operation, or both.
In 1887, an illustration in Our Dominion shows a sign spanning 7 bays and inscribed, “S. Oberndorffer Cigar Manufacturer” with a small sign, “S. Oberndorffer Office” above on the doors.
Unlike many other Jewish residents of that era, he did not need to live in crowded quarters above his shop with family and boarders. He was successful enough to be able to afford a separate home, two-and-a-half storeys in brick, at 88 Queen Street (now a parking lot). His many sons—Henry, Abraham, Fred, Marcus, Felix, Hermann—were all involved in one way or another in the family business, and all seemed to have lived at his home on Queen Street until around 1900. At least until 1927, Mrs. Cecilia Oberndorffer, Simon’s wife, lived at 88 Queen Street. Unfortunately, there are no historical photographs of the house, but we can assume it was impressive.