Information Technology Services (ITS)

IT@UofT People — Pierre Hanna

Published on: March 23, 2023

The backbone of any successful team is its hard-working people. The University of Toronto’s Information Technology Services (ITS) unit is no exception. It is made up of a diverse range of people with an even greater diversity in their interests and talents.

In this segment, entitled “IT@UofT People,” we will get to know our IT@UofT team across the tri-campus community and find out more about their hidden or not-so-hidden talents and/or pursuits outside of work.


Name: Pierre Hanna

Department: Enterprise Applications & Solutions Integration

Title: Team Lead, Client Services and Process integration

How long have you worked at U of T?

I joined UTSC in 2016 then moved to St. George in 2019, so, I’m closing on my seventh year.

What is your secret or not-so-secret talent or hobby outside of work?

I have always loved collecting old used books. I like going to bookshops, auctions and warehouses anywhere I travel to find previously read and annotated books.

How and why did you get involved in this hobby?

Reading has always been my passion. Reading books that have handwritten notes, thoughts and reflections from previous readers adds to the pleasure of listening to the author and what previous readers have to say about that book or about their lives. I have always found it fascinating to try to picture the lives of those readers and their world based on their notes.

Some of the books I have acquired date back to the 19th century — some are hand printed, but their real value to me lies in the incredible window the notes open into the lives of the previous readers.

Bookshelves filled with used books

When/how did your interest in this area begin?

This is a hobby that I inherited from my father who, other than being an author himself, was an even bigger book collector. Both my parents loved travel and would always take us to little towns off the beaten path around the world. During these travels, finding and visiting old bookstores was always in our plans.

Who/what are your inspirations?

Besides my father, there was this one moment that made me fall in love with old notes, and it was not related to books. During high school, I was visiting and old temple in the south of Egypt called Karnak. On one of the huge granite pillars in the temple, there was this little engraving of a heart, like the ones lovers leave on trees. It had ‘A’ and ‘C’ engraved on either ends of Cupid’s arrow and ‘Winter 1909, I miss you and I miss home’ at the button of the heart! The engraving was shallow and not comparable in any way to the beautiful engravings all over the temple; I was also aware it was vandalism! But for days that followed, I was obsessed with trying to picture the story behind this heart and all the circumstances that surrounded the person (A or C I suppose) to feel that lonely, homesick and lovesick! A decade old ugly engraving was more captivating to me than an incredibly beautiful temple that stood the test of time for several thousand years. It was right then that I knew that looking for back stories will stay with me for a long time.