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)

Glad Day Bookshop (Church)

4 Upcoming Events
About the Event
  • July 20 - September 21

    Every third Saturday of the month, join our drag performers and bingo caller Glitter Dunn for a night of music, food, performances, prizes and fun at GLAD DAY DRAG BINGO!

    We spin the bingo cage on a rotating lineup of kings, queens, and performers for a queer-positive, inclusive, and affirming evening, with all proceeds from bingo card sales going to charity!

    In addition to being the worl...

  • July 25

    Bedside Press celebrates five years of publishing award-winning Canadian books!

    Name: Celebrating 5 Years of Bedside Press!

    When: Thursday July 25th, 8pm

    Where: Glad Day Book Shop, 499 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y 2C6

    Cost: FREE

    Join authors, industry friends, and owner, Hope Nicholson, for an informal social gathering after the first day of the Comics Study Society's annual confer...

  • August 9

    For the SECOND Year we are deciding who is the ultimate Queer Icon, is it pop Diva Madonna or mother Monster Lady Gaga? Come dance to all their most iconic hits with DJ Maggy and DJ Craig Dominic as we party at Glad Day. Madonna and Gaga have finally squashed their beef so its time to unite the Madonna fans and the Gaga monsters. With performances by drag queens Baby Bel Bel and Molly Kewl. Thi...

  • August 10

    Micha, a refugee from Jamaica moves to a small town in Canada, thinking that there would be more freedom to be himself and not hide. The small town he lives in does not provide comfort or safety to be fully self-expressed. Often after Sunday Mass at Church, Micha retreats to an old shed where he keeps his secret stash of dresses and dreams of performing on stage to his favourite songstresses so...

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