Thursday, September 23, 2010

University of Toronto Book Sales, Autumn 2010

under these stained glass windows at Victoria College are books on the fine and decorative arts
the main entrance to Victoria College, with collectors lined up since early morning for the 3:00 p.m. opening

no bookstore that I know of has fine oil paintings on the walls; there is a lovely atmosphere of old academia

waiting in line for the Victoria College sale, one admires the picturesque late Victorian architecture, complete with whimsical turrets and towers

Among collectors and book dealers, the fall sales at University of Toronto are much anticipated. These sales have been annual events for decades and are important events on the fall academic calender. Lineups begin in the morning for the start of the sales in the afternoon. Upon entering the rooms, antiquarian dealers start scooping scores and scores of books and putting them into boxes or piles that they cover with jackets or blankets. It becomes both aggressive and territorial although with the economy these days, it isn't as bloodthirsty as it once was. For their efforts, the early bird bookworms are rewarded with rare and wonderful treasures.

The best sales are at Victoria College, University College, and Trinity College. They are held once a year, each autumn. If you line up for a good length of time before, make sure you take some (discardable) reading material, or a friend to talk to. It can be a long wait, but it is definitely worth it. The dates for Autumn 2010 are:

Victoria College, September 23-27
University College, October 15 - 19
Trinity College, October 22-26
St. Michael's College, October 26-30

As of the first sale, at Victoria College, I've not seen any e-books; these annual events are traditional, old school activities and it is a bit like going back in time to the pre-electronic age. Make sure you've got room on your shelves because there are many wonderful things. Things you didn't know you needed....


  1. How Divine! This is so my kind of thing. Just wish I could attend.

  2. MR SWF, I love these book sales and ever since coming to Toronto I have been a regular. I can think of no better place to have a book sale!

    As I say to friends "Take everything away from me except my books"

  3. I would guess that you've had an absolutely wonderful weekend. I love the arch in the second photograph and the scale of those great blocks. I wish I could have gone, too! ... Mark

  4. Hi David,
    I'm glad to hear that you visit the book sales. Perhaps I'll meet you in line at Victoria or Trinity. Hope you find wonderful books for yourself and for some lucky friends.

    Dear Mark,
    Yes, it is a wonderful building, and I marvel at the scale, interior and exterior, each time I visit. I am trying not to buy too many more books, as they've taken over the house, but I enjoy going just for the traditional campus atmosphere. In the age of electronics, it is comforting to know that some things don't change.

  5. ...things you didn't know you needed...yes, tell me about it -I often fall in that trap LOL
    Came by to say thanks for the "follow":)