bookstores Toronto

The top 5 new bookstores in Toronto

New book stores are still a thing in Toronto! With all kinds of social media platforms to distract us and a host of political blunders to bemoan, 2016 might not have seemed like a particularly intellectual year, but these small bastions of hope hang on in what often seems like an unfriendly world, proving print still has a home in #the6ix.

Here are my picks for the top bookstores that opened in Toronto this year.

Monkey's Paw

Actually a reopened location of a bookstore that’s been a Toronto favourite for years, Monkey’s Paw moved out of their cluttered Dundas spot and into a much more open Bloordale space. The interesting thing about Monkey’s Paw is the type of books they sell there: anything but fiction. Visit this place for funky apartment decor and quirky gifts, but don’t expect to find a smidge of contemporary Canlit.

Knife Fork Book

Nearly as unique as Monkey’s Paw, this tiny shop inside Rick’s Cafe in Kensington Market also excludes a huge chunk of the literary world from its offerings by selling only poetry. A contemporary Canadian poetry lover’s dream, this teeny spot retails all the hottest newest little chapbooks from the biggest names in the Toronto poetry scene, and frequently plays host to literary hotshots.

House of Anansi Press

Yet another exclusive type of book shop, this is the bricks and mortar location and office of Toronto publishing heavyweight House of Anansi Press, founded in part by famous Canadian poet Dennis Lee. They only sell their own titles and those of youth imprint Groundwood books.

Penguin Shop

Penguin opened a shop this year on Wellington, super duper downtown near the Rogers Centre. It’s a minuscule shop in a huge complex, which doesn’t even really have its own entrance but simply carves out a bright white space for itself where shelves designed to look like giant Penguin titles pull out of the walls. They sell totes and gifts aside from books.

Glad Day Bookshop

With origins in a small apartment and once relegated to a woefully inaccessible yet safely hidden second floor location, Glad Day is here and queer on Church Street, and everyone’s already pretty used to it. This place is sure to be as much as a hub for progress as the old one, and in addition to groundbreaking books is also selling beer and coffee.

Lead photo by

Penguin Canada


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