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Saskatoon Symphony Book & Music Sale - History

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For 25 years the Saskatoon Media Club held a book sale each May long weekend. When this was discontinued, Saskatoon Symphony board members proposed that the symphony hold a similar fundraising event, and expand it to include printed and recorded music. So in the spring of 1989, the “Symphony Fantastic Music & Book Sale” was born! Later it was simply referred to as the “Symphony Book & Music Sale”.

Between 1989 and 1997, the sale moved several times, from the Grosvenor Park Shopping Centre, to Wildwood Mall (now part of “The Centre”), to The Mall at Lawson Heights, and back to Wildwood Mall. Work space was usually found in the mall where the sale was held, but one year the work room had to be located in a vacant building on 50th Street, requiring that everything be trucked to and from Lawson Heights Mall for the sale.

In 1997 the sale moved into the current work room in Confederation Mall, and in 1998 the sale was held in an empty store in that mall. Since 1999 the Book & Music Sale has been held in the mall’s centre concourse. The work room has no direct heating and when the sale moved in, there was no lighting. The Symphony paid for lights to be installed and again when they were replaced in 2005.

When Betty, the former board member and volunteer who ran the sale from its beginning to 2000 retired, this responsibility was assumed by a management committee of three volunteers. A fourth volunteer joined the committee in January 2007. A group of 50 to 60 volunteers work year-round with no formal organization, which has worked well - all enjoy the autonomy and responsibility this entails.

Throughout the year, volunteers:

  • Pick up donations from several drop-off points in Saskatoon and one in Humboldt and deliver the donations to the work room. (People can leave their donations year-round in spaces donated by the owners of these businesses.)
  • Sort donations into the appropriate sections, ready for pricing.
  • Price and box the donations, ready for the sale.
  • Help arrange advertising and publicity to attract donations and customers to the sale.

During the sale, approximately 130 additional volunteers are enlisted, freeing the year-round volunteers to help customers, sort the mountain of incoming donations, price them, and stock the shelves throughout the sale. Teams of workers also set up and take down the shelving; once again, all volunteers.

The sale is held sometime between March and May. It lasts ten days, starting on a Thursday and ending on the Saturday of the next week. Volunteers built all of the shelving units for the sale, which are stored in the work room.

From the Book & Music Sale’s inception in 1989 to the completion of the 2012 sale, the Saskatoon Symphony has received over $1.2 million from this fundraising event.

In March 2007, a volunteer decided it was time we had a website, and was born! Betty had already collected and organized an extensive collection of archival materials, which have been scanned and placed on the website, under “History”. The website was completely redesigned starting in October 2007.

In 2011, the symphony rented a building at 408 20th Street West. This building is the symphony office, practice space for musicians, as well as the new home of the Book & Music Sale. Our first sale was held there in April 2012.


Historical Notes Index

Historical notes are available for every year of the sale:

(Use your browser's BACK button to return to this section of the page.)

Quick Guide to History Pages

The history pages consist of the following sections, selected with the menu buttons that pop up when you hover the cursor over "History" on the menu at the upper left of each page:

  • History Notes You are here! The portal to background information about the sales.
  • Photos Photographs of our sales, work rooms and volunteers.
  • News Newspaper, newsletter and Internet articles about the sales.
  • Advertisements News releases, newspaper and newsletter advertising for the sales.
  • Posters Posters, flyers, bookmarks and floor plans for the sales.
  • Auctions Posters and auction item listings for Silent Auctions.
  • Trends Trends and statistics for sales and Silent Auctions.