More Than Just a Yardage Sale is a massive undertaking and takes months to prepare. It is also the TMC Volunteers’ largest annual fundraiser. If you’ve never attended or helped out at the Sale, here’s an insider’s view.
Founded in 1996, More Than Just a Yardage Sale is a major fundraising event held by the Volunteers of the Textile Museum of Canada. It occurs each year on the last Friday and Saturday of May. The Sale is located under the arcade outside the front door of the Museum and in tents in the parking lot next to the Museum at 55 Centre Avenue, Toronto. More than 120 helpers make the Sale a success.
The Sale depends on donations from the public. We receive fabric, yarn, trims, notions, household linens, craft supplies, designer patterns and books about textiles. During the winter, volunteers sort and price these donations at our workshop situated at 401 Richmond St. W., Toronto.
What Happens at the Sale
On the Thursday before the Sale, volunteers organize goods at the workroom and load them onto trucks. These jobs require physical stamina but are great fun.
Early Friday morning, tents are erected in the parking lot and volunteers set up the space and display goods. Helpers arriving for the Sale check-in on the mezzanine of the Museum and are directed to their work areas. While all of this is going on, customers line up waiting for the Sale to open.
The Sale opens at 11 am and customers pour in. Most helpers work at sales booths assisting customers and refreshing and tidying goods. There are sales booths that sell decorator fabrics; quilting cottons; wool and yarn; yard goods; linings, fur and glitter; notions and trims; household linens; crafts; textile books and scraps. Some helpers top up stock throughout the day. Others act as security assistants or as cashiers. During the Sale, supervisors help to solve problems, answer questions and make sure that the Sale is running smoothly. The atmosphere feels busy and exciting.
Once the Sale ends on Saturday afternoon, the site is cleaned, unsold goods are set aside for approved charities or are recycled, the rental company picks up the tents and tables and the last dedicated volunteers go home exhausted and exhilarated.
Strand News is the online meeting place for members of the Volunteer Association of the Textile Museum of Canada. Our annual fundraisers, including the Textile Bazaar, support Museum programs and exhibitions.