Sidney is unique in Canada for many reasons. But one of the most special is its designation as Canada’s only official “Booktown”. What exactly is a Booktown? It’s a small town or rural area that celebrates its local, regional and national culture through books–thousands, if not millions, of them, day after day, year after year from every corner of the world. People from around the world travel to booktowns to browse, explore and savour the facts, stories, beauty, fun, love and so much more contained between two covers. And Sidney is no exception.
Worldwide, there are more than 100 booktowns. Hay-On-Wye, England, the original one, boasts 38 bookshops with a population of only 1800! Sidney, with its population of 11,000 or so, includes six remarkable bookshops:
Galleon Books and Antiques is a beautiful shop offering second-hand books, antiques, and collectables. It specializes in non-fiction subjects, including BC history, exploration, First Nations and art history. It’s the perfect place for browsing and chatting.
The Haunted Book Shop is Vancouver Island’s oldest bookshop. Established in 1947, it caters to recreational readers wanting recent paperbacks, and scholars seeking out-of-print material. Inventory also includes ephemeral items, maps and prints. Behind every item, a rich story!
Tanner’s Books is a full-service book store featuring new books in over 50 fiction and non-fiction categories. It also has the largest newsstand on Vancouver Island, carrying over 2000 magazines and newspapers. In addition, it features maps, nautical charts, puzzles, calendars, cards and much more!
The Children’s Bookshop, right next to Tanners, specializes in books for children of all ages, from baby’s first book to learning-to-read books to the latest in teen fiction and everything in between. Sidney grandparents (among others!) value the staff for their recommendations and good advice!
Beacon Books is a 4000 square foot treasure of a book store featuring thousands of used books in just about any category imaginable. The shop also offers rare and antiquarian books, many first editions and author-signed books, sheet music and so much more. The shop itself has its own story to tell! Just ask one of the owners.
Without doubt, it’s the store owners who help to make these remarkable shops the fascinating places they are: with no exceptions, they are knowledgeable, personable, full of interesting stories, and eager to help. Browsing Sidney’s bookstores is a great way to satisfy your curiosity and get to know our community and region.
Building on Sidney’s rich book culture, the organizers of the Sidney and Peninsula Literary Festival invite you to attend one or more of the events scheduled for April 2019. This lively festival includes readings from outstanding authors, many well-known, workshops and a special breakfast with authors. It is a true celebration of the written word and our unique cultural heritage! For details and tickets go to: sidneyliteraryfestival.ca