A Tour of Canada’s Coolest Collections

These obsessive hunters amass hundreds of Coke cans, Nintendo games, VHS tapes and more

BY ISABEL B. SLONE

June 4, 2024

Cedric Sequerra caught the collecting bug at 10 years old, when he started playing Pokémon cards with friends. Sequerra, who grew up in Montreal, soon switched to Yu-Gi-Oh! and later competed professionally at Yu-Gi-Oh! tournaments in Canada and the U.S. At 18, he sold his 50th Anniversary Fender Stratocaster guitar for $2,000 to nab an ultra-rare card and persuaded his father to lend him $2,000 to buy another one. He used these trading cards in a championship match in Florida and won. Soon, he added Funko Pops, esoteric books and VHS tapes to his collection of collections. (He has over 1,000 videocassettes stored in crates in his Montreal basement.) Sequerra’s magpie-like tendencies are on full display at his solo exhibition Sqra: Chromatic Collections, which runs from July 4 to 14 at the Beauchamp Art Gallery in Toronto. The show features large-format photos of impressive collections—both his own and others’. 

In 2017, Sequerra was working as a video producer and director, shooting concerts for artists like Deadmau5 and Diplo. He switched his focus to photography after his wife, Amanda, suggested he find a profession that didn’t involve being out until 3 a.m. every night. He started shooting collections in 2019 to capture the devotion that goes into the pastime. “These collections typically get stored away in a bin or the garage. People might show them to family and friends, but for the most part it’s a lonely hobby,” says Sequerra.

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He scours the web for people who live in single-minded devotion to their interests, then he arranges their collections according to a theme, whether it’s colour or subject matter, to bring order to the chaos. For House of the Dragon writer Gabe Fonseca’s assortment of cereal boxes, for example, Sequerra grouped together Wheaties boxes featuring sports legends like Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky. Each photo takes a lot of work: a shoot might last eight hours or more, followed by weeks or months of editing to make the items pop with fluorescent colours.

Sequerra says his photos are pop art: just as Andy Warhol immortalized celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Jackie O through his screen prints in the 1960s, Sequerra commemorates the vastness of pop culture in 2024. “I want to create time capsules: a catalogue of things that have formed the personality of our age,” he says. Below, Sequerra tells us the stories behind some of his favourite photos.

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VIDEO GAMES: “The Chicago-based owner of this collection started in his teens, after he found a vintage Nintendo console at a flea market. Now, he mainly sources his collection from gaming conventions and eBay listings. He has a sealed copy of Chrono Trigger, which he bought for over US$10,000.”

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VHS MOVIES: “This is about a tenth of my VHS collection. My favourite is a sealed set of the original 1982 Star Wars tapes. One day, when I own a country house, I want to watch videocassette tapes with my daughters and give them the full Blockbuster experience.”

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NIKE SNEAKERS: “The collector is a sneakerhead from Montreal. I spent three hours photographing his shoes on shelves, but as I was packing my camera away he started tossing them on the floor, which I thought looked so much cooler.”

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GRAND MARNIER BOTTLES: “André Proulx has a rare Grand Marnier Grande Cuvée Quintessence, which contains the oldest cognac from the Grand Marnier reserve. It was not available in Canada at the time, so he went to France to pick up the bottle.”

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TRAVEL BOOKS: “A book importer from Montreal owns this collection. He buys books in bulk when bookstores go out of business, keeps what he wants and sells the rest on Amazon. His was the first collection I ever photographed for a client.”

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FASHION BIOGRAPHIES: “The book importer owns these, too. He’s always adding books to his collection, so we talk every three months. He once told me he was a voracious reader growing up. I asked him if he still is and he said, ‘No, I just like to collect.’ ”

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LIMITED-EDITION COKE CANS: “Gary Feng is a Toronto-based collector who owns more than 11,000 Coke cans. He has one that was specially designed for low-gravity space travel. It was aboard the space shuttle Challenger in 1985.”

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CEREAL BOXES: “Gabe Fonseca is an L.A.-based writer who worked on House of the Dragon and the Wu-Tang Clan series. He has more than 900 boxes of cereal, which he features on his YouTube channel, Cereal Time TV.”

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