Glad Day Bookshop (Church)
Glad Day Bookshop is one of the oldest if not the oldest queer bookstore in Canada. You won’t find just typical gay lit within the stacks: queer poetry, plays, theory books, sci-fi, horror, colouring books and much more can be found here.
Glad Day didn’t always have such a peaceful and open residence on Church Street in the heart of the Village, however: it was once relegated to Yonge, where its freedom of expression was perhaps better protected but far more inaccessible, up several flights of stairs.
This new location is much less cramped and far more inviting. It’s filling in where Byzantium used to be, and hasn’t completely scrapped their design elements either: one of Canada’s oldest queer bookstores now has one of the city’s longest bars.
And why? Because the previously exclusively literary space is now serving booze, coffee and food in addition to books. General manager Nick mixes us up a Paper Plane ($14) which seems thematically fitting. The classic three-ounce drink is typically made with rye, amaro nonino, lemon, and aperol which gives it its orange colour.
As for coffee, we sample a comfortingly sweet vanilla cappuccino ($4.50). A cappuccino is $4, and you can add vanilla syrup to drinks for fifty cents. All their coffee is made using Propeller beans.
Food is done by Cardinal Rule, and at the start of trying out noshing at Glad Day, it was uncertain whether they might stick with Cardinal or rotate between a few pop-ups. Either way, the focus here at Glad Day is always partnering with local businesses, queer-owned if at all possible. Nick is also the bar manager at Cardinal Rule.
They tried to keep the focusing as diverse as everything else here, with plenty of veggie, vegan and gluten-free options. To start we try spinach salad ($9), topped with goat cheese and deliciously spiced chai poached pears.
Everything here is pretty basic and comforting without being too boring, like the burger de beouf ($15) on a ciabatta bun. You can get a gluten-free bun, too, and it comes with house kettle chips.
Cardinal Rule’s famous maki n’ cheese rolls ($10), featured on You Gotta Eat Here!, are an indulgent snack, crunchy panko breading around chewy mac, stuffed with meat or veg: we grab smoked tofu, but let’s be real, the mac is the selling point.
Though the Byzantium bar may remain, its aesthetic is bumped up by work done to the back bar area, spruced up with pretty tiling and lovely light wood shelves. The rest of the store is fairly open, with an accessible washroom at the back, big main shelving area, and an open seating area at the front.
All that pressure got your down? Got your head spinnin' all around? Just come on down to 54 and find a spot out on the floor!
Or do the next best thing and freak out at the world's oldest LGBT bookstore while DJ Orange Pekoe spins disco, funk, Motown, and pop. C'est chic, mes freaks!