Initiated in 2000, YURA's annual Showcase and Sale was created as an event to create a presence on campus for the York University Retirees’ Association, by showcasing to students and employees the talents, hobbies and interests of retirees. The event evolved to have three distinct components: exhibitors and hobbyists; attic treasures (sale of gently used knickknacks, jewelry and small household items donated by retirees wanting to downsize or purge belongings); and the bake table, showcasing the baking talents of retirees. Over the years, all proceeds from Showcase have supported the YURA sponsored student awards at the University. The event also served as an occasion to involve retirees in a campus activity supporting students.
In November 2019, YURA staged its 20th annual Showcase event. The event, which involved about 25 YURA volunteers and was held for the first time in the Vari Hall Rotunda, yielded $2,447 for YURA’s sponsored student awards at the University.
The 2019 Showcase event had one of the best financial results, due largely to the satellite bake sales that were staged in the Bennett Centre for Student Services, the Kaneff Tower, the Kinsmen Building (HR) and 4747 Keele (Finance). However, several of the core organizers felt quite burned out after this year's event, largely because it’s been the same core group for several years and the addition of satellite bake sales increased the load. Efforts to recruit new volunteers yielded only a couple of new helpers. Several key volunteers advised that, after many years of involvement, they would not continue.
In light of the foregoing, following the event, the YURA Executive contemplated whether, after 20 years, Showcase might be phased out, given the enormous effort to raise relatively little money, and whether there might be other ways of maintaining the profile of retirees at the University, rather than perpetuating a labour intensive event that was a good idea 20 years ago. It has become evident that many student groups are also selling food, jewelry and knickknacks at their tables in Vari Hall, the Vari-Ross Link and Central Square most weeks, so Showcase really looks like just another fundraiser and isn’t offering anything special anymore. Students and employees also don’t carry cash these days and that impedes efforts to sell items to passers-by.
The YURA Executive ultimately decided to suspend Showcase for two years and to replace it with the Scotiabank Charity Challenge Walk/Run as YURA’s fall fundraiser and to consider a possible winter-spring fundraising activity.
YURA remains grateful to the many retirees who have participated in Showcase over the years, as organizers, volunteers, exhibitors, bakers and donors of "attic treasures" items and made it such a colourful and visible event.