The Maniac Collector's Inbox
Sherlocking In Toronto,
When I last left you, I had just shown the video of The Great Whimsical Sherlockian Tour of Oklahoma and Texas at the meeting of The Bootmakers of Toronto. I incorrectly mentioned the forty-eighth parallel when I meant the forty-ninth one, so please forgive me. As you may recall, Oklahoman Sherlockian and Tour member Dean Clark and I flew up on Saturday and were met at the airport by our host, Donny Zaldin. I failed to mention that Dean's good friend Susan Henley was also on the trip. She has a daughter who lives in Toronto so she had her own agenda. She did make it to the showing of the video.
Our first full day of adventure in Toronto began with breakfast at a local diner before Donny took us to the Underground station. A brief stop to get Canadian dollars proved lucky for my collection. Next door to the bank was a Russian Bookstore and even though it was Sunday morning, it was open. The nice proprietor directed me straight to a shelf with several books by Doyle. I bought a copy of The Hound and another one of The Memoirs. Dean and I had the day to ourselves as both Donny and Barbara and Susan had plans. There was a book fair called "Word on the Street" going on in Queen's Park. We strolled the stalls but it was mostly new books.
Our next stop was at the Royal Ontario Museum that is affectionately called the ROM by the locals. We had 3:30 tickets for the Dead Sea Scroll which were on exhibit there. They have been described as one of the most significant discoveries in the 20th Century and I saw nothing there to dispute that claim. This was extremely moving. As we wound our way through the exhibit, the history of Jerusalem, the Temple, and the entire region is rolled out for you like one of the scrolls. When you got to the end of the maze, there are the scrolls. Each of the pieces was in their own display case and the plaque on each case gave the translation.
On Monday, we visited Hockey Hall of Fame. This was a place I have wanted to visit for years. After the manly get-together at the Hall, Dean left us to spend the day with Susan. This left Donny and I to hit the many Toronto booksellers.
With the Stanley Cup.
Our first stop was at Sleuth of Baker Street. This is Toronto's marvelous mystery bookshop. Some things are just not meant to be and I guess Sleuth of Baker Street was one of those things. The shop is closed on Mondays. It is always good to have a back-up plan and this is just what I did. I had arranged to return to the Toronto Metropolitan Library. I found Sherlockian Peggy Perdue who works there and even though the Arthur Conan Doyle Room is also closed on Monday, Peggy has the keys. She brought out many foreign editions of some very rare pastiches and parodies. I tried the best I could to contain myself from drooling on these treasures.
In front of the closed Sleuth of Baker Street.
One of the many treasures in the library is Edgar Smith's copy of the 1887 Beeton's Christmas Annual. It was in a drool-proof clamshell box. As it turned out the two Russian books were the only books I added to my collection while I was in Canada but I came away anything but disappointed. My excellent host Donny still had another trick up his sleeve. We spent the remainder of Monday afternoon at Casa Loma. This was the home/castle of Canadian businessman Henry Pellett. He began construction in 1911 and 3 years and 3 1/2 million dollars later it was complete. The house is located on a hill overlooking Toronto. The castle proved to be the eventual undoing of Pellett. He lost is fortune and moved out of Casa Loma in 1924. The contents were sold at public auction. Many of the items now in the house were donated back to the house.
In the library flanked by a Paget and Dorr-Steele
Casa Loma Main Entrance
Finally our time in Toronto came to an end and I could not have asked for a better time. Donny and Barbara were excellent hosts. We felt like we had been friend all of our lives. I hope to reciprocate someday.
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