Our History - Waddington's™ Auction House



About Waddingtons

1841
Canada was still 17 years away from Confederation and Toronto’s population was less than 20,000 when Waddington’s began life in the auction business.

1850
Andrew Henderson of Paisley, Scotland had settled in Toronto in 1841, and in 1850, opened his auction rooms on lower Yonge Street. In a few years Andrew was joined by his son Charles, who would later give Henderson’s its high profile and notoriety.

1863
In 1863, the company moved to 128 King Street East where the “C. M. Henderson & Co. - Auctioneers” sign would hang over the entrance for the next 75 years, establishing Henderson’s as the auction house of Toronto.

“Charlie” Henderson ran the company with flair. He was one of Toronto’s great Victorians keeping company with Toronto notables Ned Hanlan, Canada’s first international sports hero and world-class rowing champion, and Goldwin Smith, noted author and historian. Henderson was recognized by everyone as he drove his horse and buggy around town ready to conduct an auction at the drop of his top hat. Many auctions were held directly on the Toronto docks, with Charlie deftly taking bids from the crowd as containers of fruit and dry goods were unloaded.

1928
When Charles Henderson died at age 81 in 1928, the media paid tribute to the veteran auctioneer:

Elegantly silk-hatted, spatted and cravatted, he was this city’s most famous glass of fashion and mold of form, as well as its most persuasive orator and most original character. He never sold any article with a guarantee of uniqueness so genuine as his own”.

A composite of civic history could be gathered from beneath Charlie Henderson’s hammer. His office was the scene of the making of many a political career...He has auctioned everything auctioned in Toronto”. Toronto Telegram, Dec. 7, 1928.

1939
The business passed on to Charles’ son Douglas, and in 1939, ownership of the company was transferred to Douglas’ partner Frank Waddington. As the new proprietors, the Waddington family re-named the auction house ‘Waddington’s’, and ran the successful business for the next four decades.

1960
In 1960, young British auctioneer Ronald Mclean arrived in Toronto to work for Ward-Price Auctioneers located on College Street near Yonge Street. By 1962, McLean was ready to be his own boss, and bought Waddington’s from Frank’s two sons “on a handshake”. Waddington’s continued to develop its reputation as a Toronto institution, and in 1969, expanding business necessitated a move from 128 King Street East to larger facilities at 189 Queen Street East.

Ron McLean brought his own style to the auctioneer’s podium, always keen to share amusing anecdotes from his experiences in both Canada and the U.K. His style is reminiscent of Charlie Henderson’s, throwing out jibes and jokes at the auction crowds. Ron is considered an institution of the Canadian auction business.

1970
Waddington, McLean & Co., Ltd. was incorporated in 1970. The company employed over 35 full-time staff and a roster of specialists to support all aspects of the auction and appraisal business.

1998
Again, growth of the business required a move and in June of 1998, Waddington’s closed its doors on Queen Street and moved to 111 Bathurst Street, an exciting neighbourhood developing a strong arts and design identity.

2000
Waddington’s celebrated its 150th anniversary.

2001
A significant expansion of the business was realized with the creation of Joyner Waddington’s Canadian Art – a partnership of Canada’s most successful Canadian Fine Art auctioneer, Geoffrey Joyner, and Waddington’s Auctioneers.

2007
To keep pace with changing market place realities for secondary value product, Waddington’s opened an auction hall in Brighton, Ontario where we continued to conduct our successful weekly ‘regular auctions’ of estate goods.

That same year, capitalizing on the booming growth and power of the internet, Waddington’s conducted its first online auction. Online auctions have since become an important component for all our departments.

2011
After several successful years of growth, change and many exciting auctions, Waddington’s returned to its east end roots. Our new home is a sleek, brand new, concrete and glass facility on Toronto’s busy King Street East.

Another change saw our East Ontario operation expand to a larger facility in the vibrant, lakeside town of Cobourg, Ontario.

2012
A reflection of the times, we rebrand as Waddingtons.ca. We also leverage our many years of experience to launch a new initiative -- Transitions -- focussed on the growing needs of the Baby Boomers.

Today
Waddingtons.ca is committed and energized by the challenge to adapt to the changing demands of the business and to continuously look for opportunities to expand our horizons. Whether conducting unique auctions such as the contents of Maple Leaf Gardens, or the many estate and specialty auctions, we’re proud that as Toronto has become an international business and arts force - so have we.

sign up for our email newsletter


UPCOMING AUCTIONS & EVENTS



Inuit Art Online Auction
January 26-29, 2015


On View:
Tuesday 27 January 2015
from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm


"Off the Wall" Art Online Auction
January 26-29, 2015


On View:
Tuesday 27 January 2015
from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm

View the Gallery


Asian Art Online Auction
February 23-26, 2015


On View:
Tuesday 24 February 2015
from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm


British Paintings and Watercolours Online Auction
February 23-26, 2015


On View:
Tuesday 24 February 2015
from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm


Decorative Arts & Silver Online Auction
February 23-26, 2015


On View:
Tuesday 24 February 2015
from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm


"Off the Wall" Art Online Auction
February 23-26, 2015


On View:
Tuesday 24 February 2015
from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm


Inuit Art Online Auction
February 23-26, 2015


On View:
Tuesday 24 February 2015
from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm


Jewellery & Watch Auction
including Numismatics
Wednesday 25 February 2015 at 1:00 pm


On View:
Tuesday 24 February 2015
from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Wednesday 25 February 2015
from 9:00 am to 12:00 Noon


Concrete Contemporary Auctions and Projects

Contemporary Art Online Auction
March 2-5, 2015


On View:
Tuesday 3 March 2015
from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm


Canadian Art Online Auction
March 2-5, 2015


On View:
Tuesday 3 March 2015
from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm

View the Gallery


Fine Prints and Photography Auction
Tuesday 10 March 2015 at 7:00 pm


On View:
Saturday 7 March 2015
from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Sunday 8 March 2015
from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Monday 9 March 2015
from 10:00 am to 12 Noon

View the Gallery


Old Master and Related Works Online Auction
March 16-19, 2015


On View:
Tuesday 17 March 2015
from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm


"Off the Wall" Art Online Auction
March 16-19, 2015


On View:
Tuesday 17 March 2015
from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm


Hollywood North: The FXSMITH Studio Collection Online Auction
March 23-26, 2015


On View:
Saturday 21 March 2015
from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Sunday 22 March 2015
from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Monday 23 March 2015
from 10:00 am to 12 Noon


Concrete Contemporary Auctions and Projects

Contemporary Art Auction
Monday 13 April 2015 at 7:00 pm


On View:
Saturday 11 April 2015
from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Sunday 12 April 2015
from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm

View the Gallery


Charles Bronfman’s Claridge Collection Online Auction: Part V
Tuesday 21 April 2015 at 1:00 pm


On View:
Saturday 18 April 2015
from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Sunday 19 April 2015
from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Monday 20 April 2015
from 10:00 am to 12 Noon


Rug and Textile Online Auction
April 27 - 30, 2015


On View:
Tuesday 28 April 2015
from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm


Jewellery & Watch Auction
including Numismatics
Wednesday 13 May 2015 at 1:00 pm


On View:
Tuesday 12 May 2015
from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Wednesday 13 May 2015
from 9:00 am to 12:00 Noon


Canadian Fine Art Auction
Monday 25 May 2015 at 7:00 pm


On View:
Saturday 23 May 2015
from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Sunday 24 May 2015
from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Monday 25 May 2015
from 10:00 am to 12 Noon


Inuit Art Auction
Monday 1 June 2015 at 6:00 pm


On View:
Saturday 30 May 2015
from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Sunday 31 May 2015
from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Monday 1 June 2015
from 10:00 am to 12 Noon


Asian Art Auction
Monday 8 June 2015 at 6:00 pm


On View:
Saturday 6 June 2015
from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Sunday 7 June 2015
from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Monday 8 June 2015
from 10:00 am to 12 Noon


Fine Jewellery Auction
Tuesday 9 June 2015 at 7:00 pm


On View:
Saturday 6 June 2015
from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Sunday 7 June 2015
from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Monday 8 June 2015
from 10:00 am to 12 Noon


Decorative Arts Auction
Monday 15 June 2015 at 7:00 pm


On View:
Saturday 13 June 2015
from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Sunday 14 June 2015
from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Monday 15 June 2015
from 10:00 am to 12 Noon


Decorative Arts and International Art Auction
Tuesday 16 June 2015 at 7:00 pm


On View:
Saturday 13 June 2015
from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Sunday 14 June 2015
from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Monday 15 June 2015
from 10:00 am to 12 Noon