On our trip to Vancouver, we intentionally took it easy because we had Caleb – we usually planned for one big outing in the morning, and then we came home to our Air BnB for his afternoon nap. After his nap, we sometimes headed out for a neighbourhood restaurant, or else cooked something light and easy in our apartment.
We had a lot of places on our list to see if we could get to in Vancouver, and unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to hit them all in our week there. We mostly wanted to make sure we visited the parks and beaches and beautiful scenery, to take a breath of that fresh and salty west coast air, but we did get a chance to visit a few places on Vancouver’s Book Row. It’s clear to use why people move here. You could spend a lifetime here sampling all Vancouver has to offer. I heard from people we met that the Eddie Yan real estate team are good for those looking to move to the city.
I’m not sure if this is a real thing, the term “Book Row,” but I saw it on a website, and you and I both know everything you see on the internet is true.
It’s a strip of West Pender that has a lot of bookstores, and I think it’s just sort of amazing that there are enough people and readers in Vancouver to support so many independent bookshops in such a small area.
Visiting bookshops is one of my favourite pastimes, and in a new city! What a delight.
We made it to Paper Hound just as someone was propping up an umbrella over their outside book rack.
Paper Hound is a quirky and quiet and curated type of book shop. They have used and new books, but you can tell they’re pretty careful about making sure they’re carrying interesting and hard to find reads.
My favourite thing was their children’s books subjects, like “Rodent as Hero” and “Indomitable Orphans.” I mean, who can resist the story of an Indomitable Orphan?
We also made it to MacLeod’s Books. When I was in school in Kingston, downtown along and around Princess Street had so many used bookshops, with shelves crammed and books on the floors, with books piled up and threatening to fall over.
MacLeod’s was just like that, and I was in love – truly a must visit.
There were books everywhere, all sorts, of every kind. I was almost going to buy Virginia Woolf’s Complete Diaries, but there was one volume missing, and while that would have been a beautiful souvenir of our trip, that missing volume also might have made me break out in hives on the flight home.
To be honest, all those shelves filled to the brim and books stacked on the floor kind of reminded me of our back packing area, although we usually have more boxes on the floor, and also tiny creatures barreling around and knocking things over.
I could’ve stayed there for hours, just running my fingers over the spines, and carefully dodging the stacks of books, but I could see Jon waiting for me through the windows.
This is Jon’s face of “I waited half an hour outside while holding your sleeping child and now I’m holding your books while posing for a photo.”
And this last shop is one of my favourite places we visited in Vancouver. While Lucky’s isn’t on Book Row, it’s definitely worth a visit.
I wish I had a better shot of the inside! But I was too busy poring over all these beautiful books and illustrations.
It reminds me a bit of our old shop at 906 Dundas West – it’s a tiny space, with books from floor to ceiling, with an eclectic mix of comics and fiction and children’s books and graphic novels and poetry.
So what did I get??
Ray Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing
Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer
Louise DeSalvo’s The Art of Slow WritingThe Collected Dorothy Parker
Orhan Pamuk’s Other Colors (a book of essays + thoughts)
and! Virginia Woolf’s A Writer’s Diary (excerpts from her diary)
If all goes as planned (highly unlikely), some of these books may be making their way to the blog someday.
And for Caleb, we got this super cute truck book from Lucky’s.
Inside it has some of the crazy and loud and wonderful sounds trucks make.
We had a great time mapping out and making it out to some of Vancouver’s beautiful book shops, and of course books are some of the most wonderful things to bring back from a place you’re visiting.
You all know we’re big fans of independent shops here – they are the character and vibrancy and culture of our communities, and if we’re as lucky as some of you folks out in Vancouver, they are also our neighbours.
If you’re in Vancouver, here’s where to find them: