David Mirvish Books Closes Its Doors
Saturday at 6 p.m. marked an end of an era for many book lovers.
David Mirvish Books closed its doors for the last time. Some diehard book lovers were witness to the closing of one of the best bookstores in Toronto. This included Natalie Kovacs, who identified as a book fetishist.
"Why didn't they replace it with funding for a university library?" Kovacs wondered. "Where else are you going to find books like this? It's about coming here and reading and touching and feeling the books."
Indeed. The book retailer decided to continue selling their wares online only after the closing of their bricks-and-mortar store.
"It's about coming here and reading and touching and feeling the books," said Kovacs. "I wouldn't buy books online unless I had an unlimited amount of money. The endless shapes, fonts, styles... I can't come in here and lust at books anymore.
"It felt more like a community centre to me. There were books that you couldn't find anywhere else in the world, except for maybe places like certain museums and book shops in Europe. There's one in Cologne and another one in Venice that specializes in architecture.
"This place crossed the boundaries of all disciplines: history, art, architecture, design, fashion, antiquities, sculpture, theory, psycho-geography...."
Just then one of the booksellers announced "Five minutes left everyone!"
Kovacs began to quiver as if she was given her last few moments to live.
"It's a very busy day," said Eleanor Johnson (pictured below) who has worked as a bookseller at David Mirvish Books for 31 years.
"The nicest comments have come from artists," said Johnson. "I never knew how much this meant to them. They'd come after finishing a body of work and come to get inspired again. It's part of their city."
Johnson said Mr. Mirvish is going to keep her employed. "I'm going to look after the artists' material in a curatorial capacity."
Just then it was 6:07 and Johnston said she had to throw a couple of people out.
The very last customer at David Mirvish Books was Julia Vandine (pictured right). Her 30-year-old daughter Natalie told her about the closing earlier in the day.
"If I had more time I'd have bought more books," said Vandine, clutching two bags full of books already.
"I took a figure drawing course at Central Tech and a teacher recommended this store," said Vandine, who is visiting from Tamiskaming Shores. "My kids used to take summer courses at Central Tech too."
"It was so comprehensive, the whole range," said Greg Katz, 38, who said he visits the store four to five times a year. "If I had more time, I'd have bought more books."
By the store closing, the staff had set up a few wine glasses, ready to toast to the closing of the store. And end of an era in Toronto.
Here's some more photos from the final moments at David Mirvish Books:
What did David Mirvish Books mean to you? What experiences did you have there?
Photos by Roger Cullman.
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