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Bookstores

Pandemonium

Posted by Rick McGinnis / Posted on July 24, 2012

Pandemonium torontoPandemonium first opened in the Junction twelve years ago. When owner Neill Cunningham opened the used book and record store, the neighbourhood hadn't seen foot traffic along Dundas West in decades. Earlier this month he moved west to the other end of the long block between Keele Street and Pacific Avenue, and closer to the heart of a changed area.

Pandemonium JunctionHe's also moved into a much larger space - over four times bigger, in fact, and the sudden surplus of breathing space has probably been an adjustment for his old customers. The old space, like most bookstores, grew to fill in every nook and cranny like a bachelor pad with a long lease. In the new space, Cunningham says he might actually be able to empty out his basement storage space if he keeps building shelves.

pandemonium torontoThe good news is that Pandemonium is still that rarest of things - a good bookstore and a good record store. A healthy selection of evergreen CDs is balanced with a truly eclectic vinyl section, while the art and music books are rivalled by a truly comprehensive and dross-free fiction section.

Pandemonium torontoShifting his stock from one end of the block to the other took a month, and it was while re-stocking the shelves that he discovered how the Jenga-like logic of the old space had created its own efficiencies; even after building what seemed perfectly ample shelving, he discovered that it wasn't enough to fit the selection that had once been so tightly displayed in the old store.

pandemonium torontoThe children's book section, which used to huddle beneath a record bin, has been given plenty of breathing room at the front of the store, which is full of space for strollers, something that Cunningham didn't see much of at the old store. Young families are one of the biggest changes the Junction has seen in the years since Pandemonium first opened, and many of them are discovering the store for the first time, since they rarely ventured as far east as Keele.

pandemonium toronto"I tell them I'm a new store," Cunningham says with a smile. "It's easier that way."

Discussion

16 Comments

Danielle / January 29, 2008 at 08:17 pm
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Can I say how much I love the fact that the photo for a store called 'Pandemonium' is slightly askew? :D
m / March 15, 2009 at 09:55 pm
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fun store - with a great pile of books and a record selection like no other used store in the city.
Roger / March 26, 2009 at 10:57 am
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Where are all the people? Looks like an empty store to me. ;)
JKing / November 27, 2009 at 07:17 pm
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tried to go there today, its closed until further notice for renovations, apparently the landlord has been required to install a fireproof ceiling, that's what a passerby said anyway
phil / February 9, 2011 at 08:09 pm
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I found that some stuff is overpriced and dosn't have a huge selection of mystery and horror books....I suggest if you wanta good used bookstore go to dencan books down the street at clendenan and dundas....dencans has THE best selection of books in the Junction!!!!
roberto / June 25, 2011 at 11:01 am
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soy de argentina , que coleccion!
im from argentina, nice store , what a collection, envy.jaja
roberto / June 25, 2011 at 11:05 am
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i want buy all record of RAMONES, sorry for my ingli
Linda / April 23, 2012 at 10:30 am
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Awesome store. Great selection of music and books. :-)
Jenn / July 24, 2012 at 09:56 am
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Everytime I walk into Pandemonium, I never leave empty handed - a great selection of books, cd's and vinyl!
Michelle / July 24, 2012 at 10:14 pm
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I find something every time I go to this store. It's great and they often have really new stuff available used. Even their not so new stuff is always in top shape. I find the pricing to be equal to what most used book stores charge (50 or so % off the cover price, or more depending on quality/quantity I guess?).
Sil / July 30, 2012 at 08:12 am
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I found really rare books there! This book store is amazing, and I am happy about the new space. :)
moogerfooger / November 8, 2012 at 01:08 pm
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Can anyone elaborate how "eclectic" the vinyl collection is? It's a bit out of the way for me, so I'd appreciate an opinion on whether the trip is worth it. I'm not particularly interested in classic rock, and the first picture in the article is nothing but classic rock :)
JORGE BARRETT / December 20, 2012 at 04:14 pm
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How can i do to reach there from aurora?, i am just arrive at toronto my first time in this city, ty
Nayana / March 23, 2014 at 02:35 pm
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Wow - blown away by the kindness in this store. I was checking out some books and dint' realize I was sitting on the floor. A nice man came by with a stool for me to sit on. So kind! Also, the selection is unexpected. A nice mix - discovered some interesting authors and am excited to read the books I got!
David / April 26, 2014 at 12:04 pm
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Very cool and varied selection, but quite expensive except for used vinyl where unless its a rarity you might find some good deals. Beware: buys for very cheap, almost insulting, then marks up alot. Used to be very friendly, neighbourly in old location, now find staff, including owner rather dismissive and indifferent Staff more interested in talking among themselves or close friends? Check quality very carefully. Nice classical selection and childrens books plus lots of curios in other stock.

Some seats might be a nice touch. Also more step ladders to reach upper shelved stock. Still well worth a good search if you have a few hours to spare.

Hope they dont lose their just plain neighbourly folk ambience but am finding it a stretch since the move. Too bad. .

Still have a policy of giving you a bit more credit than cash if you take stuff in and would like to buy something else.
Isaura / November 2, 2014 at 06:28 pm
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Me and my husband love spending time here. We pick up vinyl and books.
Great addition to our hood.

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