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Mapping The Demise of The Toronto Bookstore

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It's been a rough few years for Toronto bookstores, especially now with the closure of several prominent stores in recent months. Book City in the Annex closed its doors, World's Biggest Bookstore near Yonge and Dundas said adios and most recently, the Chapters Festival Hall at John and Richmond announced it will be closing for good on May 30th. We've mapped out the death of the bookstore and what's being developed in its place. (Don't fret Annex residents, Parentbooks on Harbord Street isn't closed, they just moved down the street).


· Eulogy for a Bookstore [Curbed Toronto]
· Cool Map Thing Archives Curbed Toronto]
· The Disappearing Bookstores of Toronto [Huffington Post]

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1. Chapters Festival Hall

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142 John Street, Toronto
ON M9N 1J8, Canada

The latest bookstore to announce its closing is Chapters at John and Richmond. Apparently lease negotiations didn't work out and execs decided to close the beloved bookstore in the Entertainment District. The store itself is a large space and next to the Scotiabank Movie Theatre. Will another restaurant pop up in its place?

2. Book City, Annex

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501 Bloor Street West, Toronto
ON M5S 2N5, Canada

Book City in the Annex closed their doors after 38 years on Bloor Street. General manager, Ian Donker, told Quill & Quire, "it didn't make much economic sense to continue... Rent goes up every single year. Sales have slipped for a number of years, through no fault of the staff or our efforts." The three-storey building was listed for lease with a price of $35.00 Net PSF. Perhaps we'll see another cheap sushi or frozen yogurt store in its place.

3. World's Biggest Bookstore

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20 Edward Street, Toronto
ON M5G 1C9, Canada

Opened in 1980, the World's Biggest Bookstore near the Eaton Centre was the city's landmark book shop. The property was sold to Lifetime Developments, who plans to turn the property into a row of restaurants.

4. Pages Bookstore

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256 Queen Street West, Toronto
ON M5V 1Z8, Canada

In 2009, alternative bookstore, Pages, closed its doors on Queen West. Torontonian wept (briefly) and in its place came a Black Market Clothing Store and then the sales centre for the Picasso Condos.

5. The Cookbook Store

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850 Yonge Street, Toronto
ON M4W 1J5, Canada

After 31 years of celebrity chef authors and book signings, Yorkville's beloved Cookbook Store closed its doors in March. In its place will be a new 58-storey condo tower called 1 Yorkville.

6. Chapters in Runnymede Theatre

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2223 Bloor Street West, Toronto
ON M6S 1N6, Canada

Chapters in the former Runnymede Theatre closed after owners said the rent was too high. The Bloor West store was mourned by the community and a boring Shoppers Drug Mart moves into the heritage building.

7. Chapters, Yonge & Steeles

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6212 Yonge Street, Toronto
ON M2M 3X4, Canada

Once upon a time, there was a large and loveable Chapters near the corner of Yonge & Steeles. That was 2008, today it's Galleria Marketplace, a Korean supermarket.

8. Steven Temple Books

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489 Queen Street West, Toronto
ON M5V 2B4, Canada

Another Queen West bookstore closure with the absence of customers at Steven Temple Books. The antiquarian bookseller tells the National Post, "I’ve been thinking about [closing] for a long time...It’s a glorified office and showroom. Hardly anyone comes here."

9. Nicholas Hoare

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45 Front Street East, Toronto
ON M5E 1B3, Canada

After 20 years on Front Street, Popular bookstore Nicholas Hoare closed its final chapter last year. Customers fondly remember the store, comparing it to their own personal library. The owner retired.

10. Ballenford Books

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600 Markham Street, Toronto
ON M6G, Canada

The architecture bookstore on Markham closed in 2008, and it was probably a smart move. The Mirvish Village block and Honest Ed's Warehouse was recently sold to Vancouver developer, Westbank Properties, for future redevelopment.

11. Toronto Women’s Bookstore

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73 Harbord Street, Toronto
ON M5S 1G6, Canada

In 2012, the feminist bookstore near the corner of Harbord and Spadina closed after 39 years. The owner attributes ebooks and online competition to the bookstore's demise. What's there now? RedFish BlueFish, a child-friendly coffee shop.

12. This Ain't The Rosedale Library

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86 Nassau Street, Toronto
ON M5T, Canada

First located near Church and Wellesley, the independent bookstore was the hub of gay village. The store later moved to Kensington Market with the owner owing a large amount of money to the landlord. Today, in its place is a yarn store that offers knitting classes. From books to yarn!

1. Chapters Festival Hall

142 John Street, Toronto, ON M9N 1J8, Canada

The latest bookstore to announce its closing is Chapters at John and Richmond. Apparently lease negotiations didn't work out and execs decided to close the beloved bookstore in the Entertainment District. The store itself is a large space and next to the Scotiabank Movie Theatre. Will another restaurant pop up in its place?

142 John Street, Toronto
ON M9N 1J8, Canada

2. Book City, Annex

501 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON M5S 2N5, Canada

Book City in the Annex closed their doors after 38 years on Bloor Street. General manager, Ian Donker, told Quill & Quire, "it didn't make much economic sense to continue... Rent goes up every single year. Sales have slipped for a number of years, through no fault of the staff or our efforts." The three-storey building was listed for lease with a price of $35.00 Net PSF. Perhaps we'll see another cheap sushi or frozen yogurt store in its place.

501 Bloor Street West, Toronto
ON M5S 2N5, Canada

3. World's Biggest Bookstore

20 Edward Street, Toronto, ON M5G 1C9, Canada

Opened in 1980, the World's Biggest Bookstore near the Eaton Centre was the city's landmark book shop. The property was sold to Lifetime Developments, who plans to turn the property into a row of restaurants.

20 Edward Street, Toronto
ON M5G 1C9, Canada

4. Pages Bookstore

256 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 1Z8, Canada

In 2009, alternative bookstore, Pages, closed its doors on Queen West. Torontonian wept (briefly) and in its place came a Black Market Clothing Store and then the sales centre for the Picasso Condos.

256 Queen Street West, Toronto
ON M5V 1Z8, Canada

5. The Cookbook Store

850 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M4W 1J5, Canada

After 31 years of celebrity chef authors and book signings, Yorkville's beloved Cookbook Store closed its doors in March. In its place will be a new 58-storey condo tower called 1 Yorkville.

850 Yonge Street, Toronto
ON M4W 1J5, Canada

6. Chapters in Runnymede Theatre

2223 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON M6S 1N6, Canada

Chapters in the former Runnymede Theatre closed after owners said the rent was too high. The Bloor West store was mourned by the community and a boring Shoppers Drug Mart moves into the heritage building.

2223 Bloor Street West, Toronto
ON M6S 1N6, Canada

7. Chapters, Yonge & Steeles

6212 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M2M 3X4, Canada

Once upon a time, there was a large and loveable Chapters near the corner of Yonge & Steeles. That was 2008, today it's Galleria Marketplace, a Korean supermarket.

6212 Yonge Street, Toronto
ON M2M 3X4, Canada

8. Steven Temple Books

489 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 2B4, Canada

Another Queen West bookstore closure with the absence of customers at Steven Temple Books. The antiquarian bookseller tells the National Post, "I’ve been thinking about [closing] for a long time...It’s a glorified office and showroom. Hardly anyone comes here."

489 Queen Street West, Toronto
ON M5V 2B4, Canada

9. Nicholas Hoare

45 Front Street East, Toronto, ON M5E 1B3, Canada

After 20 years on Front Street, Popular bookstore Nicholas Hoare closed its final chapter last year. Customers fondly remember the store, comparing it to their own personal library. The owner retired.

45 Front Street East, Toronto
ON M5E 1B3, Canada

10. Ballenford Books

600 Markham Street, Toronto, ON M6G, Canada

The architecture bookstore on Markham closed in 2008, and it was probably a smart move. The Mirvish Village block and Honest Ed's Warehouse was recently sold to Vancouver developer, Westbank Properties, for future redevelopment.

600 Markham Street, Toronto
ON M6G, Canada

11. Toronto Women’s Bookstore

73 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON M5S 1G6, Canada

In 2012, the feminist bookstore near the corner of Harbord and Spadina closed after 39 years. The owner attributes ebooks and online competition to the bookstore's demise. What's there now? RedFish BlueFish, a child-friendly coffee shop.

73 Harbord Street, Toronto
ON M5S 1G6, Canada

12. This Ain't The Rosedale Library

86 Nassau Street, Toronto, ON M5T, Canada

First located near Church and Wellesley, the independent bookstore was the hub of gay village. The store later moved to Kensington Market with the owner owing a large amount of money to the landlord. Today, in its place is a yarn store that offers knitting classes. From books to yarn!

86 Nassau Street, Toronto
ON M5T, Canada