Abandoned Highway Book Shop

Exploring a HUGE Abandoned Book Shop

In 1957 a young entrepreneur was running a printing shop out of his garage, one of the man’s customers asked if he could pay his printing bill with used books instead of cash – and so began the story of this book shop that would carry on for 53 years.

The demand for books was increasing and word would quickly spread that you could have a book printed and published from this man’s garage.  Ultimately, over 300 writers published 467 books out of this small local print shop.

As this young publisher was racking up a respectable batch of titles as well as stacks upon stacks of used books, he and his wife opened up a new location where they would continue their publishing business as well as selling used and new books.

It is thought that at its peak the bookstore held over 1,000,000 books, and having seen the inside myself, I would say that number is accurate.

The owners of this now abandoned book store also moved into the mail order book business, as they held several hundreds of rare and out of print books.  In the early 2000’s with the unavoidable digital world, they then moved into online sales as well which increased their visibility for international sales of rare books.

The man who ran the shop with his wife passed away in 2009, he passed away just weeks before his induction ceremony into the Order of Canada.

His wife tried to continue operations of the store following his passing, but being in her late 80’s and looking to retire, she put the book store up for sale.  It was forced to close in on May 29th, 2011 after she was unable to find a buyer.

On June 29th, 2012 someone did buy the land and the book store, but they have no plans to re-open the book shop.  Now, 10 years after they closed the doors, the windows and doors have been boarded up, the ceiling has begun to collapse and water damage has allowed mold to begin growing.

I have been asked by people, “what did it smell like in there?”, it smells exactly like you would think it does – like old books.  It has warm, thick air and the rows upon rows of books give a muffled sensation when talking, there is no echo and it is eerily silent.

It is a shame that the new owners have done nothing with the contents of the building, with the increasing mold and water damage, soon it will be too late to save any of the treasures that are held within the walls of this historic Canadian institution.