11 Independent Bookstores in Toronto to Support This Holiday Season
11 Independent Bookstores in Toronto
Whether you’ve already finished your holiday shopping or have yet to check that first item off your list, there’s never a bad time to support local businesses—especially in 2020. And if You’ve Got Mail taught us anything, it’s the importance of independent bookstores (and that Meg Ryan is the queen of ‘90s fall/winter rom-coms).
From community staples and specialty shops to newer stores with diverse offerings, here are 11 Independent bookstores in Toronto to support today:
1. TYPE Books
Neighbourhoods: The Junction, Queen West, Forest Hill
With three locations around the city, TYPE is a go-to for many Torontonians on the hunt for not only books, but toys, stationery, puzzles, and so much more. You can even order a Mystery Bag or Deluxe Mystery Bag of books catered to your (or your gift recipient’s) tastes.
2. Queen Books
Head over to the other side of the Don Valley Parkway to Leslieville and make a visit to the charming Queen Books. They’ve recently opened up an online shop, where you can easily order (or pre-order!) a wide variety of books for pick-up or delivery.
3. Another Story Book Shop
Another Story has been providing locals with fantastic books for over 30 years. They feature a wide range of books for children, young adults, and adults, with a focus on social justice, equality, and diversity. Another Story also provides teacher and library resources, custom orders for schools, and they host book fairs.
4. Book City
Neighbourhoods: The Danforth, Beaches, Bloor West Village, Yonge & St. Clair
First opened in 1976, Book City has expanded to four locations across Toronto and was founded — and still operated by — a family of book lovers that goes back four generations. You can shop Book City online and order your books for pick-up or delivery (with free delivery in Toronto over $100).
5. Mabel’s Fables Bookstore
Neighbourhood: Davisville Village
Mabel’s Fables is a much-loved bookstore offering books for children and youth since 1988. They also provide a reading list for teachers, educators, and librarians, book subscriptions (a great gift idea!), and book clubs for different age groups
6. Balfour Books
Neighbourhood: Palmerston-Little Italy
If you’re searching for a one-of-a-kind book on art, photography, fashion, or design, Balfour Books is your spot. Their collection covers much more than those topics alone; the store is filled with second-hand and antiquarian books that will keep you browsing for hours.
7. A Novel Spot Bookshop
Neighbourhood: Humber Valley Village
A Novel Spot Bookshop is an independent bookstore located in Etobicoke’s Humbertown Shopping Centre. The bookshop features a curated selection of hand-picked titles spanning genres. While the shop is currently closed for in-store browsing, they’re still offering curbside pick-up and delivery for those within the M8 and M9 postal codes.
8. Ben McNally Books
Neighbourhood: Old Town
Ben McNally Books is a beautiful bookstore with the feel of a prestigious library. See for yourself by booking a shopping appointment to browse in-person, or you can order books by email or phone for delivery or curbside pickup. When events and readings can be held at Ben McNally Books again, you’ll want to make a visit!
9. BMV Books
Neighbourhoods: Yonge & Eglinton, The Annex, Yonge & Dundas
Known for its great deals and prices, BMV is Canada’s largest discount and second-hand bookstore, with shelves upon shelves of affordable books, DVDs, comics, and more. BMV has three locations throughout the city and will also buy your gently-used books, CDs, DVDs, magazines, and records for cash.
10. Acadia Art and Rare Books
Neighbourhood: Moss Park
For antiquarian, out-of-print, and used books and art, visit Acadia Art and Rare Books. This cozy shop on Queen Street East both buys and sells these pieces, as well as maps, photography, prints, and more. To get a glimpse into their curated collection, just browse their catalogues here.
11. The Sleuth of Baker Street
When you’re on the hunt for a crime or mystery novel, look no further than The Sleuth of Baker Street. This shop specializes in the mystery genre but has a wide variety of books that goes far beyond it, including biographies, cookbooks, graphic novels, and more.
There are many more well-deserving independent bookstores in Toronto beyond this list. If there’s a bookstore in your neighbourhood that you love (or have yet to visit) be sure to give them the support they deserve this season.
Shannon Hodgen is a lifelong writer, DIY enthusiast, and homebody. She satisfies her need to put pen to paper–or, more accurately, fingertips to keyboard–as an agency copywriter, blog contributor, and freelance editor in Toronto.
Favourite Book: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Favourite Brunch Spot: Dirty Food Eatery in The Junction