When it was announced last week that the World's Biggest Bookstore on Edward Street will be closing its doors in February, one couldn't help but remember those childhood trips to the bookstore. Opened in 1980, the store (which is not technically the "world's biggest," Barnes & Noble in New York is larger), was a tourist attraction near the Eaton Centre and was later purchased by Chapters. Although the new developer, Lifetime Developments, has yet to confirm what's happening with the property, Torontonians wonder what will happen to the location. Will it turn into the World's Biggest Condos, or will it go back to its original roots of being a bowling alley?
Before it was a bookstore, it was the Olympia Bowling Alley, previously downtown's only 10-pin bowling facility until the opening of The Ballroom on Richmond and John Street. Olympia closed in 1979 to make way for the bookstore. This intriguing Facebook page is dedicated to the history of five-pin bowling houses in Toronto. The site posts historical photos of city bowleramas like the Danforth Woodbine Bowling opened in 1927 and later destroyed in a fire in 1969. There's also the Brunswick Bowling Alley on Queen West that offered "noiseless lanes," a large billiard parlour and bowling academy owned by the Orr Brothers, six Irish brothers in 1908. Biggest bookstore fans recently shared their memories, both heart-warming and slightly odd, on social media.
· World's Biggest Bookstore Closing Down [CBC]
· World's Biggest Bookstore's closing to spell the end of a dishevelled era [Canada.com]
· One More Down [Now]
· History of Bowling in Toronto [Facebook]