Written by Jessica Woollard
It’s bound to happen at least once a holiday: you’re curled up with a book in the park, on the beach or peaceful patio, turning pages of marvelous prose, completely engrossed in the heart-wrenching drama, mind-blowing plot twists and larger-than-life characters, when all of a sudden... you have no more pages to turn.Not to worry. While Victoria isn’t known as “Booktown,” as is neighbouring Sidney, the downtown core has some great bookstores where you are sure to find your next page-turner. Here are a few suggestions, besides chain stores, on where to find your next great read, with a Victoria twist. Munro’s Books Munro’s Books was started in 1963 by Jim Munro and his wife, notable Canadian author, Alice Munro. Located in a heritage building at 1108 Government Street, the store is known for its focus on new writing and its selection of local and Canadian literature. Columnist and author, Allan Fotheringham, describes Munro’s as “the most magnificent bookstore in Canada, possibly in North America.” With praise like that, how can you not pop in for a look? I suggest you pick up a book and head next door to Murchie’s Tea and Coffee, a local favourite since 1894. Russell Books The great mecca of books for most Victorians is Russell Books, located at 734 Fort Street. Russell Books boasts an impressive collection of more than one million new, rare, and (mostly) used books of all genres. The prices are reasonable, and chances are you will walk out with an armload to take home with you. Locals bring in their old books for store credit on a regular basis, so their stock is always changing and there is always something new. Make sure you also visit the second storey of the building next door which contains mostly fiction books. They also have a second branch, Books on View, that is located at 702 View Street. Books on View might not catch your eye as it is in the basement of a building with a modest storefront, but it is worth the visit for the atmosphere alone! It’s quieter than the main store and is a nice place to cool off on a hot day or to re-energize with that delightful, old-book smell.