Five GTA bookstores to visit this spring
City councillor Jen Vasic and teacher Natasha Steer, above, were high-school pals, but they grew even closer when they started writing together a few mornings every week. Inspired by the book “How to Resist Amazon and Why,” by Danny Caine, the pair wanted to do something to help support local bookstores. So they started a blog, Bookstore Love, about unique places to revel in books in the GTA and beyond.
“It’s a way to meet the people behind the paper — the owners, the customers, authors, — and get to know some of the ins and outs of running a bookstore,” Vasic says. “As writers,” says Steer, “we both also love storytelling. So we meld these experiences together: our friendship, books, independent bookstores and storytelling.”
The pair soon plan to offer book curation services, whether it’s picking the perfect wedding favours or plotting out a shelf of great books for a business.
“Books evoke curiosity and compassion in us,” Steer says. “I think they make us better people. Books also gain us opportunities for insight and reflection and allow us to consider different perspectives and points of view.”
Want to explore new world? Here are some bookstores Steer and Vasic think are worth seeking out.
“TYPE Books has a thoughtfully curated and thought-provoking selection of books, including an excellent kid’s section. Like most booksellers, they’re also stellar at providing book recommendations.” —Vasic
A Different Booklist, 779 Bathurst St.
“(This) Black-owned business that focuses on books about Black experiences and culture. The lovely owners, husband-and-wife team Miguel and Itah, have a vibrant and close community that has been rallying around them to keep this important bookstore and cultural centre going during a turbulent time.” —Steer
Blue Heron Books, 62 Brock St. W., Uxbridge
“Cosy and colourful – there’s just something about it. Blue Heron is great at ordering any books they don’t have on hand, so if I’m looking for something specific, they make sure to get it in.” —Steer
Glad Day Bookshop, 499 Church St.
“Books are an important gateway to providing us with the information that we need to launch into action that creates social change. Glad Day Bookshop plays an important role in this as the first queer-focused Canadian bookstore, and the oldest queer bookstore worldwide. —Vasic
Willow Books, 239 Queen St., Port Perry
“There’s something about wandering aisles upon aisles of pre-loved books, never knowing what gems you might find. Every time I arrive, I’m greeted enthusiastically with ‘Welcome to the universe; I’m your tour guide.’ The owner David is incredibly helpful and always up for a chat.” —Steer