Book Scouting – North of the Border


We love Canada!  Twice over the past six months (in October and again in January) Ron and I headed up to the Niagara-on-the-Lake Region and further north into Hamilton and Toronto in search of used book inventory.

Our first destination was Niagara-on-the-Lake, a beautiful old town situated in the heart of wine country on the Niagara escarpment, on the shore of Lake Ontario where the Niagara River meets the Lake.


This area is famous for its elegant wineries, its theater (the Shaw Festival in particular), and its breathtaking year-round beauty.

With its cozy, walkable downtown, lovely old hotels, pubs, inns and storefronts,  horses & carriages lined up in front of the elegant Prince of Wales Hotel…you will swear you are in an old English village.


This is where we stayed, at Riverbend Inn & Winery, just outside the village on the Niagara Parkway.



One of the highlights of our October 2016 trip was attending the book sale at Trinity College, about an hour north of Niagara-on-the-Lake in Toronto.  It was our first time at this annual event.  It was held upstairs in Seeley Hall at 6 Hoskin Avenue.


This is one of the better college or university book sales we have attended, and is the largest of its kind in Toronto.  There were thousands of books on hand, organized into categories, with a separate rare and collectible room.


The building is a lovely old thing done in Jacobethan style. We found parking across the street.



The staff was knowledgeable and courteous — it was a pleasure to buy books here!

A few examples of the books we purchased at Trinity College:

Below: A Son of Austerity, by George Knight.  Published by McLeod & Allen, n.d.   Illustrated by Harrison Fisher.

BelowThe Mammoth Book of Thrillers, Ghosts and Mysteries (Parrish, J. M. and John R. Crossland, Editors) Odhams Press Ltd., London, 1936.  SOLD

BelowFolk-Songs and Other Songs for Children, Jane Byrd Radcliffe-Whitehead, Editor.  Oliver Ditson Company, Boston, 1903.  Decorated American trade binding – cover design by F. G. Hale (Frank Gardner Hale 1876-1945).

BelowOn the Road to Bagdad, by Lieutenant Colonel Brereton (Blackie, London, circa 1920)

Below:   Record of Canadian Shipping –  A List of Square-Rigged Vessels, Mainly 500 Tons and Over, Built in the Eastern Provinces of British North America from the Year 1786 to 1920.  Frederick William Wallace.  Toronto: Musson Book Company, 1929.   First Edition, SIGNED and Limited, this being no. 402 of 1,000 copies.  Illustrated with photographs, paintings and drawings.


Meanwhile, back in Niagara-on-the-Lake, there was a nice little book signing going on at the local book store…Old Niagara Bookshop, located at 223 Regent Street.  They are purveyors of books both old and new!

Here we are with author Terry Belleville, and a copy of his book, Matters of Kindness – A collection of short stories, anecdotes and memories.


Thanks, Terry, for signing my book.

Later we paid a visit to Konzelmann Winery…one of the many beautiful wineries in the area that are making really excellent table wines, as well as the “ice wines” for which this region is famous.

A short drive away is the town of St. Catharines, Ontario, where we found a couple of interesting used & rare book stores.  The first one we visited was “The Write Bookshop” at 285 St. Paul Street, St. Catharines.


And here is one of the interesting books we found there…

BelowThe South African War, by Captain A. T. Mahan.  Peter Fenelon Collier & Son, NY, 1900.  Decorated American trade binding – cover designed by George Wharton Edwards (so stated on copyright page).  Eighteen full page illustrations in color; 34 full page black and white illustrations.

The second book store we visited was Hannelore Headley Old & Fine Books, at 71 Queen Street.  It looks small and humble on the outside, but geeze(!), they had some nice books.


Here is an example:

BelowThe Skyline Trail, by Mary Carolyn Davies.  Indianapolis: Bobbs Merrill, 1924.  Oregon Edition, Limited to one thousand copies, signed and numbered, of which this is number 770 (with author’s signature).  Decorated American trade binding – cream cloth boards with blue, black, cream and lavender mountain and wagon train scene on cover. SOLD

Below:  The Ship that Died of Shame & Other Stories, by Nicholas Monsarrat.  London: Cassell, 1959.  Stated First Edition in clean unclipped original dust jacket.


We had no trouble bringing a box of assorted wines and several boxes of books back across the border.  The trip was so enjoyable and successful that we went back in January of this year, and had another wonderful experience – which I’ll catch you up on in the next post.



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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Darn, been to the Shaw festival and never saw a used book store in town. Got some great pics. Will have to ask Marlene if we can’t visit her cousin in Niagara Falls again soon! ~(:-))

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