I told you that visiting independent bookstores could easily become a dangerous hobby! Following my recent visit to The Sleuth of Baker Street, I took a trip downtown to Nicholas Hoare on Saturday. Located on Front Street, Nicholas Hoare is supposed to specialise in British books, so it was of particular interest to me.
Most of the books are sourced from Canada or The US, so the store wasn’t quite as British as I was expecting, but it is quite beautiful and I suppose you could describe it as having a British vibe. Every book is front-facing, nothing is shelved with the spine out, and there are attractive displays. The store is larger than it appears from the outside, with a kids section taking up the rear quarter or so of the floor space.
I can’t emphasise enough how nicely laid out the store is. There are no signs posted in the store to advertise the different genre sections and the shelving and decor is tasteful. There are couches, a fireplace, plants and gentle lighting. With the classical music at a subtle volume, it all feels pretty cosy.
The rear stairs leading to the mezzanine are where I found most of the British content, but as mentioned, there was significantly less than I expected. Had I stumbled across one of Stephen Fry’s books, I might just have bought it, but I only saw his recent autobiography. I took at look at Villages of Britain: The Five Hundred Villages That Made the Countryside by Clive Aslet. It was something my Dad would probably like to read, and not a book you would probably find in stock in many other stores. It was an eye watering $80, though that isn’t a criticism of Nicholas Hoare (that’s around the list price for the book).
Nicholas Hoare is definitely worth stopping by. It’s in the St. Lawrence area of Toronto, surrounded by beautiful architecture of European influence – such as St. Lawerence Hall, designed by William Thomas of Leamington Spa. The St. Lawrence Market is also just down the street.