Books

15 Amazing Indie Bookstores Across Canada

You can support local from coast to coast!

There are over 200 indie bookstores in Canada that are thriving despite the pressure of Amazon and e-books. Why not buy your next read from one of these shops, most of which ship across the country?

YUKON

Well-Read Books

(Illustration: Jake Tobin Garrett)

Well-Read Books

This shop is one part used bookstore, one part museum of Yukon history.Lose yourself in its collection of Northern first editions, including works by poet Robert Service, a.k.a. the Bard of the Yukon. Whitehorse; yukonbooks.ca.

NORTHWEST TERRITORIES

The Yellowknife Book Cellar

(Illustration: Jake Tobin Garrett)

The Yellowknife Book Cellar

Judith Drinnan moved to Yellowknife in the 1970s to work as a teacher, but her love for books prevailed. Four decades after she opened The Yellowknife Book Cellar, it remains a one-stop destination for kids and adults. Yellowknife; yellowknifebooks.com.

NUNAVUT

Inhabit Books

(Illustration: Jake Tobin Garrett)

Inhabit Books

This online bookstore and proud Inuit-owned publisher focuses on Inuit and non-Inuit Arctic titles in English, French, Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun. Iqaluit; inhabitbooks.com.

NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR

Downtown Comics

(Illustration: Jake Tobin Garrett)

Downtown Comics

Kerri Claire took over the store from her Spider-Man-loving dad after he passed away. She runs it alongside comic book artist Wallace Ryan, supporting local artists and writers by selling their comics and zines. St. John’s; downtowncomics.ca.

QUEBEC

Librairie Racines

(Illustration: Jake Tobin Garrett)

Librairie Racines

While on mat leave from her job as a social worker, Gabriella Garbeau opened a bookstore dedicated to highlighting diverse stories. Find books on anti-racism and the history of hip-hop in both English and French. Montreal; librairieracines.com.

ONTARIO

 Glad Day Bookshop

(Illustration: Jake Tobin Garrett)

Glad Day Bookshop

This shop has been a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community for decades. Today it hosts one of the largest queer and trans literary festivals in North America, and stocks its shelves with a ton of queer lit. Toronto; gladdaybookshop.com.

Knowledge Bookstore

(Illustration: Jake Tobin Garrett)

Knowledge Bookstore

This Afrocentric shop saw an uptick in sales during the BLM protests last year. Aside from its anti-Black racism reading list, Knowledge also sells an inclusive range of graphic novels, kids’ books and puzzles. Brampton; knowledgebookstore.com.

P.E.I.

Seaside Books

(Illustration: Jake Tobin Garrett)

Seaside Books

Nancy Quinn loves helping readers find what they’ve been searching for among her shelves of used titles—and welcoming newcomers to her seaside shop with free books about Canada. Summerside; no website.

NEW BRUNSWICK

Tidewater Books

(Illustration: Jake Tobin Garrett)

Tidewater Books

Growing up in rural New Brunswick, Ellen Pickle looked forward to biweekly visits from the bookmobile. Now, she’s the one making people’s days, selling loads of Can-Lit, as well as nature-themed puzzles and local jewellery. Sackville; tidewaterbooks.ca.

NOVA SCOTIA

Venus Envy

(Illustration: Jake Tobin Garrett)

Venus Envy

This education-based sex shop doubles as a bookstore. Its collection centres the stories of queer, trans, disabled and BIPOC authors from Halifax—including Francesca Ekwuyasi and Rebecca Rose—and beyond. Halifax; venusenvy.ca.

BRITISH COLUMBIA

Iron Dog Books

(Illustration: Jake Tobin Garrett)

Iron Dog Books

Owners Cliff and Hilary Atleo think of their roving bookstore on wheels as a “food (for the brain) truck” that makes reading accessible to metro Vancouver. They also have a storefront location. Vancouver; irondogbooks.com.

Strong Nations

(Illustration: Jake Tobin Garrett)

Strong Nations

This indie publisher’s mission is to strengthen literacy in Indigenous communities. Aside from selling a lot of books—fiction, non-fiction, poetry—by Indigenous authors, it also offers lesson plans for educators. Nanaimo; strongnations.com.

ALBERTA

Glass Bookshop

(Illustration: Jake Tobin Garrett)

Glass Bookshop

Glass Bookshop owners Jason Purcell and Matthew Stepanic uplift queer and racialized storytellers alongside other new and buzzy releases in their online shop (bricks-and-mortar location coming soon). Edmonton; glassbookshop.com.

MANITOBA

Tusome Books

(Illustration: Jake Tobin Garrett)

Tusome Books

Valerie Chelangat opened this online book-store that celebrates African, Asian and Indigenous authors—like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jenny Han and Tanya Talaga—to encourage others to expand their reading lists. Winnipeg; tusomebooks.com.

SASKATCHEWAN

Spafford Books

(Illustration: Jake Tobin Garrett)

Spafford Books

This cozy bookstore is home to a rare 1930s edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, as well as owner Leah Spafford’s rescue dog, Oxford. Explore the aisles to discover 400-year-old manuscripts and art catalogues. Regina; spaffordbooks.ca.

FILED UNDER: