BEST of OTTAWA 2021: Bookstores
After over 20-years writing about life in Ottawa, we think we have a pretty good idea of the best of what this city has to offer. In this weekly series, we share our picks with you — our top spots for takeout, live music venues, local brews, bands and more. Check, share and discuss #OLMBest every week!
Librairie du Soleil
33 George St, Ottawa
A beautiful bookstore in the ByWard Market, Librairie du Soleil is the shop to find books for the Francophone in your family. With over 50,000 titles, they have a great assortment of books for both adults and kids while also selling French newspapers, magazines puzzles, cards and gift items. When you go, be prepared to brush up on your own French with the staff. During the lockdown they are maintaining the same hours as usual but for curbside pickups only.
Photo: OLM Staff
258A Elgin Street, Ottawa
Perfect Books is the kind of bookshop where the whole family can find books that they are interested in reading. It is a great place to stop in on your lunch hour or if you are working from home, take advantage of free parking on the weekends and pop in. Don’t mind the current topsy-turvy look, the shop is under reno. During the lockdown they are taking online and phone orders with daily curbside pickup.
Photo: Brandon Dion
Books on Beechwood
35 Beechwood Avenue, Ottawa
A gem of a bookstore, Books on Beechwood has great staff that will help you find the perfect book, and in the off chance they do not have what you are looking for, they will order it for you. They carry children’s and young adult books too as well as a nice selection of gifts items. The store is currently open daily for curbside pickup.
Photo: OLM Staff
327 Rideau Street
If you ever took in a movie at the former ByTown Cinema you are most certainly familiar with All Books, which is right next door. It has to be the tiniest book store in the city but it has a great selection of second hand books. The titles might be spilling from every surface but owner operator Mark Tracy knows were to find anything you are looking for.
Photo: via Yelp
417 Bank Street, Ottawa
With over 55,000 titles, the Book Bazaar just might be the largest second-hand bookshop in the region. You'll find an excellent assortment of gently used books without having to sift through piles of pulp fiction. The staff are very friendly and helpful too. In business since 1974, the shop also specializes in rare, and antiquarian books. Now taking phone and online orders until the end of the lockdown.
Photo: Book Bazaar Facebook
206 Main Street, Ottawa
The Singing Pebble is an adorable little shop that sells books on health, healing, spirituality and more. It also has a wonderful selection of gifts and cards, and a great customer reward system. When in-store shopping returns, make sure to leave extra time for your visit as is difficult to not linger and look at the unique items — puzzles, pins, mugs, jewellery, sun catchers, taro cards, and of course, books too.
Photo: Singing Pebble Facebook
Black Squirrel Books & Espresso Bar
1073 Bank Street, Ottawa
Black Squirrel Books is a comfy neighbourhood bookseller in Ottawa South. The store has a wide assortment of used books and sells new titles too. The front of the shop is an espresso bar that is very popular with the locals. Grab a coffee and have a seat at one of the many tables and get reading right away. During the current lockdown the shop is open Wednesday to Sunday from 11-5 for curbside pickup and is offering 2-day Express Post shipping for only $10 (free for orders over $100).
Photo: Gregorio Kuhn via Mapquest
Le coin du livre
1657 Cyrville Road, Gloucester
If you live in the eastern part of Ottawa and are looking for French books, head to Le coin du livre. Run by a father-daughter team with a complement of super friendly bilingual staff, the shop also has a great selection of educational games and puzzles. During the lockdown order your books by email, phone or via Facebook.
Photo: Le coin du livre Facebook
11 Murray Street, Ottawa
Antiquarian bookseller Patrick McGahern Books Inc. is a wonderful little shop with books literally from floor to ceiling. Equipped with an genuine rolling library ladder, the shop looks magnificently charming. For over 50 years the shop has been dealing in rare books on the Arctic, Canadian history, voyages and travel, and military history as well as maps and prints. If you are passionate about history and books or have a rare book you wish to sell, make sure to visit this ByWard Market shop.
Photo: OLM Staff
116 Third Avenue, Ottawa
In addition to being a great bookstore for children and adults alike, Octopus Books is a community platform. Pre-Covid the shop hosted a multitude of events, reading and workshops with an eye to giving marginalized groups a voice in the community. The shop has been around since 1969 and carries titles in both English and French.
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