Tuesday, 24 May 2016




Hello and welcome to the first summer 2016 edition of EXHIBITION REVIEWS! I hope everyone has enjoyed the amazing weather over the long weekend and got their hands on some fireworks. Cottage people, you have /my/ number!

This post is not so much about an exhibition per se, but a lovely and easily-overlooked permanent feature of the Toronto Reference Library- a home away from home for any fan of intrigue and the cozy comfort of nostalgia for a time we never even lived and never will again - the Arthur Conan Doyle Collection (I know, nobody is surprised!)

The ACDC Room (I spy a teddy bear!) 24-05-16. Source: S Read
A little background history on the Collection; some time ago in the late 1960s, a few librarians got their hands on a small collection of about 150 books related to Sherlock Holmes and the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. These books were supplemented by the collections of the wonderfully-named S. Tupper Bigelow and the more enigmatic "Mortlake".

The inner room of the ACDC. So cozy! 24-05-16 S. Read
Sherlock Holmes and his faithful friend John Watson have been, of course, at the forefront of popular culture for a long time. And so they should, considering the duo's continued relevance in our seemingly chaotic, post-industrial society. It is therefore ironic and endearing that the great social disturber-of-the-peace Sherlock Holmes' rooms should be accented by the greatest comforts and dainty accessories: fluffy Persian rugs, silk slippers, furniture smelling of rich mahogany, a teddy bear. The opening hours for the Collection at the TRL are limited, however I greatly urge you to take some time this summer, whether on some stormy summer afternoon or unbearably hot July morning, to check out the ACDC (hehe) and browse the marvelous collection of paraphernalia, beautiful editions of Holmes mysteries, manuscripts, and maybe even play a round of chess!

The ACDC outside room, with chess set and Holmes mysteries. 24-05-16. Source: S Read
What's more, the lovely Collection staff permit you to peruse freely, and you can take pictures, too (no flash please!) You can also request to see more delicate or valuable items that are not on immediate display to the public, though make sure you check with the TRL first to make sure someone is there to assist you. If you are visiting the city and have an interest in all things Holmes, this is a free and accessible space and should be on your to-see list!

Some interesting reads out of many! 24-05-16. Source: S Read
The Arthur Conan Doyle Collection is a treat nestled away in the honeycombed recesses of the TRL, and is clearly lovingly cared for. For those in our readership who are interested in exploring what I can only assume is the deep and dark underbelly of Toronto's literary subculture, you can join the Sherlock Holmes Fan Club, The Bootmakers of Toronto for a Pub Night on June 11 at the North District Library.

Adorable Sherlock teddy and a beautiful illustrated SH book. 24-05-16. S. Read
Also, the Friends of the ACDC are welcoming professor of Film Studies Russell Merritt next Saturday on May 28th to discuss the "rediscovery and restoration of [William] Gillette's 1916 silent film Sherlock Holmes". For information on the Friends of the ACDC, click here!

To conclude, I will share my favourite Sherlock joke. Added bonus: the response you receive for this joke from your friends is really an indicator of your friendship:

"Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson decide to go on a camping trip. After dinner and some soothing violin music provided by the cultured Holmes, they lay down for the night, and go to sleep.

Some hours later, Holmes awoke and nudged his faithful friend.

"Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see."

Watson replied, "I see millions of stars."

"What does that tell you?"

Watson pondered for a minute.

"Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets."
"Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo."
"Chronologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three."
"Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful and that we are small and insignificant."
"What does it tell you, Holmes?"

Holmes was silent for a minute, then spoke: "What it tells me, dear Watson, is that someone has stolen our tent!"

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