Do you have a book nerd friend who not only enjoys reading books, but loves the scent of an old library? Or the sound of a book being cracked open for the first time? Are you a book fan yourself? If not, I’m sure you’ve at least ventured into a Chapters or Indigo to check out their home living section or to grab a cup from your favourite coffee mermaid, and found yourself walking through a sea of books, wondering how you got there. The holidays are upon us and if you’re looking for a new book for yourself or a gift for someone else, here are six independent stores in downtown Toronto near Danforth’s Greektown, all within a 10 minute drive of each other.
Book City (348 Danforth Ave)
Named “Toronto’s Leading Independent BookStore” on their website, Book City is your place to be if you want all the new book releases, but don’t want to give your money to the big chain bookstores. The large location is sectioned off by genre and you may find yourself weaving through the endless tables piled high with reading material. You can find larger and more specialized books right next to the cashier at the front of the store.
Re: Reading (548 Danforth Ave)
Here you can find used books while enjoying the small rustic-looking shop with little signs which tell you where to look for specific genres. Their store is heavily organized as the staff has alphabetized the books by hand because they don’t have a computer server. This small shop is also the place to be if you’re looking for a first edition or signed editions of a book.
Snow Lion: The Meditation Shop (708 Pape Ave)
A not-for-profit right across from Pape subway station, Snow Lion is there to help you with all your mediation needs. The tiny shop offers books by different subjects, covering religion, yoga, and psychology, and also carries crystals, prayer beads, and Tibetan meditation signing bowls. If you’re interested, the store also offers meditation classes, just speak to the owner for more information.
Circus Books & Music (866 Danforth Ave)
At the east end of Greektown, Circus Books & Music is your place to shop for a one room book and music overload. Their shelves are jam packed with older, used novels, and they have a small table at the front which carries new releases. If you’re into the arts and have a passion for literature and music, this is the store to check out.
St. Jacques Religious Bookstore (1242 Danforth Ave)
The place for all your religious needs, St. Jacques is just a few steps away from Greenwood subway station. Don’t let the plain exterior turn you away as the shop has a very warm and inviting feel the moment you walk in. You’ll find yourself wandering throughout the store as they carry books on many different nationalities and religion, as well as any other supplies you could possibly need.
Sleuth of Baker Street (907 Millwood Rd.)
Although being the farthest away, Sleuth of Baker Street is your one-stop-shop for all things mystery. The books include mystery, crime, detective fiction, and spy. Of course, Sherlock Holmes can be found there, hence the store’s name. The entire shop is filled top to bottom with books covering the walls. You won’t find yourself leaving without a book in hand.
Catherine Belvedere is the Production Manager for the summer issue of On The Danforth. She relaxes by binge watching shows on Netflix while slowly working on her knitting projects, and she has a fierce love of the Oxford comma. You can find her blog here, or follow her on twitter and instagram.