Old Favorites was founded in 1954 by Kathleen and Lou Morris, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Lou Morris was born and raised in Toronto and Kay was born in Sault Saint Marie, ON. Where she spent her early years in the Mining town of Gowganda (North of Sudbury) her father was an assayer for the Mining community.
Lou Morris, was the business manager for The Canadian Forum,(a Canadian Literary Magazine.) in the late 40's early 50's and along with Kay ran a Book Service which eventually expanded into the Old Favorites Bookshop.
Kay Morris (ne Montague) was an English and Music teacher before she began work as a proof reader for the Canadian Forum and helped run the Book Service.
The Book Service (The largest general service of its kind in Canada.) and The Canadian Forum office were located at 16 Huntley Street. In a quaint Coach House behind the Woodsworth House, C.C.F.'s Ontario Headquarters. These quarters quickly became too small to house the growing inventory and The First Old Favorites Bookshop location became 36 Yonge St, in 1954. (The pictures to the right are of the 36 Yonge St. location) Old Favorites quickly became the place to go in Toronto to find used, rare and out of print books.
The Kinney Montague Catalog was started in the fall of 1956 and continued until the early 70's and played a major role in the expansion of Old Favorites.
A very important member of The Old Favorites Team was Estelle Fox, who ran the Search Service. When customers were in need of an elusive title Estelle Fox would put Old Favorites resources to work and for a minimal fee per book would advertise world wide. This process rarely failed and soon gave Old Favorites the slogan “If we don't have it…We can get it!”. This is one part of the business that Lou termed “the most important, but not the most lucrative.”
Another loved and important member of Old Favorites during this time was Mary Montague who diligently kept all of the records up-to-date and cataloged. Minny as she was known was Kay's Mother.
And last but not least Alan Creighton, Canadian Author, Poet and painter, was with Old Favorites from it's conception to the Adelaide Street address, about 35 years until he retired to devote more time to his painting.
36 Yonge Street Location soon became too small and the Move was made to 30 Front Street W. across the street from the Central post office. Joy Saunders (Kay and Lou's eldest daughter) and her husband Ken began working for Old Favorites at the 30 Front St location in 1966.
After several years this location was slated for a parking lot and Old Favorites was looking for a new home again. We then moved into our largest location at 150 University Ave.
Old Favorites had become a hot spot for artists, researchers, writers and book lovers to meet, talk, browse and shop for their favorites. Old Favorites found its niche in the hearts of Torontonians and book lover's world wide.
150 University Ave. was in the basement of the old Regal Card Building at the North West corner of University Ave and King Street. This location was by far our largest with over 10,000 square feet of BOOKS! BOOKS! BOOKS! Old Favorites had not only become one of the most popular out of print book store, but it had become the largest Used, Out-of Print and Antiquarian book dealers in Canada.
After several years this property too was slated to become another parking lot and Old Favorites was on the move again.
250 Adelaide St.W. was Old Favorite's next and final downtown Toronto location. Many of you will remember Old Favorites from this location as this is where it was based from 1970 through to 1994 .
After 20 years Old Favorite's building was sold and we were on the move again…
The final moving sale at 250 Adelaide was one of our largest sales ever! Savings of up to 95% OFF brought droves of book lovers. When Ken Saunders showed up to open the store customers were lined up around the building waiting for the bargain of a lifetime.
The book business was changing rapidly in the early 1990's and Old Favorites had to adapt to the times. We invested and researched the internet and began indexing our books to sell online! The mailing list already made up more then ¾ of Old Favorites sales and with the opening of huge chainstore bookshops other avenues were explored.
Eventually Old Favorites decided to move out of the downtown area to save on overhead and maintain its low prices. Focusing on the internet and mailing list would surely pay off in the years to come…
For generations authors, collectors, bibliophiles and book lovers have found that the Old Favorites Bookshop is the place to find all kinds of books
In 1994 Old Favorites made the move to a Historic general store in the small hamlet of Greenriver just 30-40 minutes from downtown Toronto. (The picture to the left is of the store during the mid 1800's when C.E.Callander was operator.)
The shop itself occupies a niche in merchandising history. One of Canada's foremost chain store magnates got his start here. He was C.L. Burton who went from his father's general store at Greenriver to become president of Simpson's from the 1920's to the 1950's. (The lower picture to the left shows the store during the Burton years.) If you get the chance to visit the old Burton store you'll be walking through the same front doors they did in the late 1800's and into Canadian history.
During the 30's-50's the old Greenriver store had an addition, metal siding and a full second floor added. During this time the store operated as a general store, gas station, butcher shop and post office.
After a year of renovations and a new face lift Old Favorites officially moved into the Greenriver location in 1994.
Old Favorites quickly settled into their new location and focused its energy on improving the internet sales and mail order business as well as providing a comfortable retail outlet with a warm nostalgic atmosphere, rare finds and of course Old Favorites.
Our Today
Today Joy Saunders and son Philip operate the store with Lou Morris as an advisor.
Old Favorites is still growing and expanding today! For our 50th year we will be celebrating by constructing this new and improved website, ebay auctions, mail order catalog, and customer appreciation sales to take place this spring & summer
Old Favorites has served over a million customers since 1954, from students, government officials, librarians, and libraries, researchers, book collectors and book lovers.
Famous faces have shopped at our various locations. Joey Smallwood, Pierre Elliot Trudeau. Conrad Black, Whoopie Goldberg , Glen Loates, Les Pomeroy, Tom Kneebone, Don Herron, Don Franks, Ely Yost, Pierre Burton, Rev. Ian Paisley, and Kurt Vonnegut (seen in the photo to the left) and the list goes on……
Client Testimonials
“If I were asked to name the least-known but most captivating place in the city of Toronto, I'd say unhesitatingly a dark, nostalgic and wonderful old emporium at 30 Front St…. As the name implies…Old Favorites.” -Nancy Phillips, Toronto Telegram 1962
"My lunch break always consisted of a 10 cent Coke and a browse through Old Favorites.”
-Pat Wilson- artist and longtime customer
Our Address
Old Favorites Book Shop 132 Hwy # 7 , R.R #1 Locust Hill, Ontario L0H 1JO Phone : 905-294-3865