Glad Day Bookshop Toronto

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.

Glad Day Bookshop Toronto

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.

Glad Day Bookshop Toronto

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.

Glad Day Bookshop Toronto

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.

Glad Day Bookshop Toronto

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.

Glad Day Bookshop Toronto

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.

Glad Day Bookshop Toronto

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.

Glad Day Bookshop Toronto

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.

Glad Day Bookshop Toronto

Photos by

Jesse Milns

Glad Day Bookshop (Church)

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Glad Day Bookshop (Church)

1 Upcoming Event
About the Event
  • March 28

    TMSG is sponsored by Come As You Are Co-operative

    Join us on Tuesday, March 28th at Glad Day Bookshop at 499 Church St. This show, as always, is free for everyone. What do you wish you would have known, sexuality-wise? Now's your chance to revisit your past and look at how much you've learned and grown. Share with us the stories you'd tell your younger self.

    Glad Day Bookshop is, as the name suggests, a bookshop, so get there early (before 7pm) to peruse and buy something for yourself or someone else if you'd like! They also have a bar with alcohol and non-alcohol-based items, so you're welcome to order and enjoy beverages throughout the evening!

    The venue is wheelchair-accessible, including a washroom on the main floor. We encourage people to avoid wearing scents and scented products in the space. The evening begins with a land acknowledgment and we ask for content notes before each story.

    How it works for interested storytellers:

    Slip your name into our box (HEYO!) and we'll pick up to 10-15 storytellers for slots of up to 5 minutes each. There are points for engaging with the audience (so don't just read the whole thing!) and it must be a true story.

    Our hosts and judge (TBA) will start the night off with a few of their own stories and then rank each entry to choose our winners at the end of the night. Our top storytellers get prizes every time!

    Prizes thanks to our sponsor Come As You Are Co-operative include things to get you off, alone or with a partner/s!

    Samantha Fraser (@samanthafraser) and Claire AH (@claireahhhhh) are your lovely co-hosts every month for your storytelling pleasure. Tell Me Something Good (@TMSGstories) is your opportunity to share short stories of sexual glory, gaffes, and growth for the chance to win sexy prizes, or if you'd rather not share, feel free to just sit back and be entertained.

    *** Important note: We strive on making this a safe(r) event. We will not tolerate homophobia, racism, transphobia, ableism, ageism, misogyny, whorephobia, slut shaming, fat-phobia, or any other jerky behaviour or language. Don't yuck someone else's yum! Please make sure that your stories are respectful so that everyone can feel included and have a good time! ***

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