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Canadian Independent Bookstore Day (CIBD)

  • Submitted: 26th April 2024

Canadian Independent Bookstore Day (CIBD)

Canadian Independent Bookstore Day (CIBD) is the day when readers, writers, illustrators, publishers, and others come together to celebrate indie bookstores across Canada. This day happens every year to mark how wonderful books are and to thank the bookshops that get books to readers.

Although I am not Canadian, I have some very special memories of bookshops in Canada – mainly Toronto as I first gathered ideas and inspiration for TheBookTrail when sightseeing via bookshops around the city. I became very familiar with the cafes of course, but it’s the bookshops and the lovely people I met in them and via them that form the fondest memories.

Books set in Canada

Just look at this gorgeous illustration for the day itself by  talented Canadian artist and illustrator Cornelia Li:

Canadian independant bookshop day

Canadian independent bookshop day illustration by Cornelia Li

A trip down memory lane then of some bookstores in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver!

TORONTO – QUEEN BOOKS

Queen Books

Even the front of this store is inviting. In the Leslieville eastern end of the city, this is the kind of bookshop I imagine owning one day. I would drink coffee outside whilst dreaming up events for the authors who were visiting. Handy, this is close to two beaches and the harbour so plenty of places to read the books you’ve just bought.

Book  City

There are a few of these dotted around the city and it’s still one of my earliest book memories from the city. In fact, they act as a handy guide to touring and discovering the city via bookstores. Beacons of lovely bookishness they are.

Book City on Danforth – Be sure to visit the Todmorden Mills Heritage Site – the booksellers here told me about this place and after I had bought books, I went to read them here!

Books set in Canada

Books set in Canada

Book City in the Beach – 1950 Queen St. East. I will never forget my visit here. Such lovely bookpeople and great recommendations – to take to The Beaches nearby. I did – thought it was lovely. With the warm September sun beating down on me, I went, in T-shirt, to the beach with two books. All the Canadians were wrapped up in coats. Sat near the boardwalk and read with ‘Under the boardwalk’ in my head getting funny looks from everyone in coats and hats!

Book City St. Clair – 1430 Yonge Street

This bookshop taught me a valuable lesson. Yonge Street is VERY LONG. The longest street in Canada? It cuts Toronto in half so when someone gives you an address on Yonge Street, be sure to get the Canadian version of the intersection – ie Yonge and Bloor. The miles I walked on this street finding places…..

ANOTHER STORY

I loved the name of this when I first saw it and I ended up spending loads of time here. Got to explore the Roncesvalles Ave area of the city. Booksellers recommended some of my favourite Canadian writers and this was the store where I bought a lovely Margaret Atwood paperback. Nearby is the famous High Park Cherry Blossoms where I spent hours reading books I had bought here.

Flag_of_Montreal

MONTREAL

Oh the hours I spent in here! Books about travel and Canadian culture, books about what to see and do in Canada. Oh my!

Oh this store! I got the best book about walks around the city and they were so good, my legs nearly fell off. I am very interested in Canadian history and this store directed my visits to local heritage sights and the history of the area. I could have moved in here.

BONDER BOOKSHOP

Books set in Canada

Oh for the love of all things French. I discovered many French Canadian writers thanks to the booksellers here! They have a great selection and knowledge of Montreal authors so, well, I was in my element! They also introduced me to some of the most wonderful Indigenous writers and I credit them with my love of these writers!

Lovely place selling the Canadian favourite Poutine – chips, gravy and cheese curd  – nearby.

Flag_of_Vancouver

VANCOUVER

Books set in Canada

Starting off with a very old but a classic bookstore. Oh I can remember the wonderful scent of books in this store so vividly!

MACLEODS BOOKSTORE 

Looking back, this store had Harry Potter and Narnia vibes. There are books EVERYWHERE. This was the new location after the old shop burned down and it moved here. It reminded me a bit of the cafe of Friends with its frontage and corner location. I think this is in Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood and I had many a nice stroll around the area. Carrying books of course.

TANGLEWOOD BOOKSTORE

Books set in Canada

This bookstore has always made me feel it should star in a movie on the Hallmark channel. People drinking coffee outside and books galore piled on wooden floors within. I always loved the fact it’s located on Broadway and call this street the Broadway of books. Imagine bookworms if there were starts in the pavements with author names on them, if there were lots of bookstores in a long, long, row that people came to visit the world over. Now THAT would be the kind of Broadway I would want to tap dance down!

Canada has some wonderful writers, bookshops and booksellers and I will always be grateful for their kindness to an English girl wanting to discover as many Canadian writers in both French and English as she could.

Happy Canadian Indie Bookstore Day!

Susan x .

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