Hello friends, happy Thursday, I hope you’re all well! Today I’m back with my series, Bookstores Across Ontario. On April 30 (Independent Bookstore Day!) we made another trip to 13! independent bookstores, so let’s get into it!
I’m so excited to share with you all the thirteen bookstores I went to visit a few weekends ago. My friend and I spent the whole day going from one independent bookstore to the next. We did it in really good timing too; we still have NO idea how we managed to visit 13 stores, but we did. We started nice and early getting to the first place right at opening time, 10 a.m. and we finished just after 5 p.m.
In this blog we hit up bookstores in these Ontario cities: Burlington and Hamilton.
If you’re curious you can read part one where I visited: Mississauga, Etobicoke, Bolton and Orangeville.
First up is Burlington.
Our first stop was to a small, but very book-filled store called By The Lake Books (they are also located right by the waterfront in Burlington, [5295 Lakeshore Rd.] which is a really pretty spot). This bookstore had shelves upon shelves of used books; it’s the type of store where you don’t know where to look because so many books! The staff were also really friendly, it was a great place to start the day.
Our second stop was such a cute place called, A Different Drummer Books [513 Locust St.]. This was a quaint little house… that had three floors of books; although the third floor was more of a loft where they had a YA section. This store was where a book fell on my head (😂). The atmosphere was very pleasing and the staff again very friendly.
Our third stop was walking distance from the above store, a little place called Book Nook [501 Brant St.]. This place was literally like a nook; it was small, but was not short of books; there were shelves and shelves of used books and little alcoves to hide in. It was such a nice little store.
Our last stop in Burlington was to a place called Booked Experiences Bookstore [575 Plains Rd. E.]. We thought the last bookstore was a nook, well, this store was possibly smaller, with what felt like even more books. I spent a lot time 1) trying to figure out what I was going to buy and 2) ensuring I didn’t knock anything over because there was little room for walking. The lady who owned the place was really sweet and just wanted to talk to you. The thing you should really know about this place if you do decide to pop in is it’s cash only.
Facebook: Booked Experiences Bookstore
Next up was Hamilton.
Our first stop in Hamilton (and fifth on our trip) was to a bookstore called Pickwick Books [325 Dundas St. E.]. This is in the heart of a downtown core of Waterdown and it has the cutest outside store front. I’ve passed this place a few times on route and I’ve always wanted to stop here so I was really excited to finally get to stop in! The place takes used books and I was able to give 3 of my books that I wanted to get rid of, and the lady was so sweet about it. She also told us this building used to be a bank once upon a time and so they have a room full of books in, what used to be a vault; it was pretty cool!
Our next stop was a place called Westside Stories [852 King St. W.]. From the outside this place looks small… but there is a basement! The basement is full of sci-fi, horror and westerns. By the time we got to this store (stop #6) I made the comment, “I’ve seen too many books” and one of the store owners came back with “you can never see too many books” and I mean, she’s not wrong! 😂 Definitely a nice shopping experience.
Our next stop was to a really, really pretty bookstore, King W. Books [1060 King St. W.]. Right from the outside this place was pleasing; the inside was too! This store had one of those rolling ladders… I was too afraid to touch it for fear I would break it… trust me, I would! This was also attached to the stationary store next store and the staff at this place were just so friendly, saying hello and then making sure they said goodbye! An all around great experience!
Our next stop, stop #8, was a place called Epic Books [226 Locke St. S.]. It’s a little place, but so bright and of course full of books. It had a very minimalist look, which gave it this fresh and clean look. I ended up making my people working behind the counter laugh as my friend showed me the cutest tote bag – it had Burt and Ernie reading – it was so cute I had no words and therefore had to make some up! 😂
[I’d just like to insert here that, at this point was where we stopped to take a break to re-fuel. Also, the bookstore that we planned to go to, James Street Bookstore & Gallery, happened to be closed.]
Next stop was to a bookstore called J.H. Gordon Books [314 King St. E.]. Again, another blue building; I don’t know what it is about the blue stores, but they’re really pretty. This bookstore was so quiet! Even the owner working was reading a book, I loved it; it was just so peaceful to walk around and look at all the books; most of them used books. There was a cute little back room for middle grade/children’s books.
Stop #9 was to a place called The River Trading Company [559 Barton St. E.]. Don’t let the outside fool you, as you can clearly see it doesn’t look like a bookstore, but it is 100% a bookstore with little, what I call secret rooms, because it felt like it kept going in the back. There were so many books to look at that again, I had a hard time choosing!
Our next stop was a little place called, Love Books? [763 Barton St. E.]. This had little pockets of book nooks full of all sorts of different types of books. At first I wasn’t sure what I would be able to find, but alas you’ll always be able to find a Stephen King book; one that even the owner had said she hadn’t read.
Next up was a bookstore called The City & The City Books [181 Ottawa St. W.]. This place had a cool vibe to it. Not only was it a bookstore but I believe they sold music as well. The front of the store was dedicated to new books, while back end was dedicated to used books and it had this coffeeshop vibe in the back; it’s definitely a place I could see myself going back to, if I ever find myself in Hamilton again.
Then for our last stop, stop #13 on this journey was to a place called Epic Books: The Sequel [177 Sherman Ave. N.]. Just as the name implies, this is the sequel to the other store, Epic Books (see above for links). We ended our trip at this cute little boutique looking store. This store had more merch than it did books and so my friend and I decided to get a pair of matching socks (in the style of the old library due back cards!).
And that’s a wrap on the second batch of bookstores in Ontario I’ve been to. I can’t wait to continue on with this series and visit more, hopefully soon! If you know of any independent bookstores in Ontario, let me know! I’m always happy to add more to my list!