Fonds MsC-103 - Little Sisters Book & Art Emporium v. Canada fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Little Sisters Book & Art Emporium v. Canada fonds

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  • Textual records

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 2000-2006 (Creation)
    Little Sisters Book & Art Emporium
  • [2000]-[2006] (Creation)
    Arvay, Joseph J.

Physical description area

Physical description

34 m of textual records

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Joseph Arvay, QC, is a Canadian lawyer who has argued numerous landmark cases involving civil liberties and constitutional rights.

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Administrative history

Little Sister’s Book & Art Emporium is a bookstore located on Davie Street in Vancouver, serving adult (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) communities. Little Sister’s was bombed three times in the years when it was the only gay and lesbian bookstore in western Canada. More recently, Little Sisters was involved legal battle against censorship and discrimination that made it to the Supreme Court Of Canada; the bookstore challenged the provision of the Customs Act prohibiting the importation of obscene material as well as a section of the Act that put the onus on the importer to disprove obscenity. This case broadened and redefined the definitions of obscenity and tolerance in contemporary Canadian society. In 1998, Little Sisters was presented the Award For The Advancement of Intellectual Freedom in Canada presented by the Canadian Library Association.

Custodial history

Records were in the custody of Joseph J. Arvay, legal representative for Little Sisters Book & Art Emporium, prior to their acquisition by Simon Fraser University Library Special Collections and Rare Books in 2011.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of records relating to the landmark legal battle between Little Sisters Book & Art Emporium and the Government of Canada over customs' censorship and seizure of gay & lesbian books and magazines intended for sale in the bookstore.

Notes area

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  • English

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created January 11, 2016. SS

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