Books on Beechwood, 35 Beechwood Avenue, Ottawa
A truly great bookstore calls to you. You look in the window and you just have to go in. And then you have to stay awhile. And when you leave, you know you’ll be back again.
That’s the case with Books on Beechwood, one of Ottawa’s last independent, community bookstores.
Unfortunately, it’s not my community bookstore.
Books on Beechwood has deep roots in two historic Ottawa neighbourhoods: New Edinburgh and Rockcliffe Park (home to our Prime Minister, Governor General, diplomats and many civil servants). Last year, community supporters pulled together to save their beloved bookstore when its future looked bleak.
Community bookstores are sadly almost an extinct breed in Ottawa — eaten alive by big box stores and online shopping. So much so, I almost forgot what a lovely thing it is to spend time in one.
Here’s why I love Books on Beechwood:
1. Knowledgeable, helpful, book-loving staff (I love the hand-written reviews hanging from books) who have a knack for helping you find the perfect book
2. Well curated and well stocked: Along with best selling fiction and classics, famous and first-time authors, there is interesting non-fiction, pretty coffee table books, poetry, local history, and eccentric little books that I hadn’t noticed at big box stores. Importantly — they provide comfy chairs to browse before you buy:
3. Community connection: They host local literary events and a book club, and stock books that “reflect the interests of the surrounding neighbourhoods” (according to their website)
4. Lovely kids section: Classics, best sellers and just enough quirk
5. Enticing selection of book-related accessories: Cards, cloth bags, gifts (oh la la the Penguin products!), and more…
6. Size matters: Big and bright enough to be interesting, but not too big to be impersonal
7. Proximity to good food: Located next to the best scone shop in town!
I’m already dreaming about my next visit. In fact, if I can convince my husband, I’d like to buy a house within walking distance….or maybe the Governor General will rent me a room? Surely he has enough space for a family of three and our books: