The book market at St. Vital mall for The Children's Hospital has officially been cancelled due to COVID-19. 

Normally the Children's Hospital puts on two book markets a year, where people can donate their gently used books and then the Foundation sells them at the mall over a weekend. They usually take place during the spring and fall. 

This year, due to the pandemic, they cancelled the spring book market quite early on and announced today that the fall market will not happen. It could have been the biggest event yet, as it was the 60th anniversary. 

The book market that lines the halls of St. Vital mall typically raises over $300,000 of the $500,000 the Foundation raises each year. This money funds important programs that help make a hospital stay a little less scary for sick children.

As the book market is cancelled, book collection and drop-offs have also been suspended.

The event usually draws over 300 volunteers to help make the fundraising initiative a success. This year, in order to keep these volunteers safe, alongside COVID-19 restrictions, the event was simply cancelled.

“We are filled with gratitude for the hard work that these volunteers do all year long, every year. We also appreciate the efforts of partners involved, like Dufresne Furniture, Winnipeg fire halls, and St. Vital Centre for supporting the Book Market. We hope to see all these partners again for a Book Market sale next spring,” says Stefano Grande, the President and CEO of The Children's Hospital Foundation of Manitoba.

The hospital runs a 'Child Life' program, which they say is more important than ever while COVID-19 limits the number of visitors allowed to see sick kids. Child Life specialists spend time with patients and use art, humour, play and music therapy to help kids cope with the stress and uncertainty of illness. Lifting children's spirits, they ensure kids continue to have access to opportunities for play and imagination, books, toys, storytelling, and craft activities.

The organization is asking that anyone who would normally buy books at the market still consider giving a donation in the amount they normally spend, to help with their goal.