Nicholas Hoare, Toronto’s pre-eminent British bookstore located at 45 Front St. E., has announced it will close on April 1, 2013.
It has been a tough year for the mini-chain. It lost a battle with the National Captial Commission over its rent for the Ottawa store, resulting in that location’s closing in April, 2012. And despite the assistance of the mayor of Montreal, their sole Quebec location met a similar fate, closing in December 2012.
Now the Toronto store, after a 42 year run, will also be shuttered. Known for its wooden bookshelves, cozy fireplace and selection of classical or jazz music playing gently in the background, the store has long been considered a true oasis for the book lover. A just-in-time delivery service meant the store was never cluttered and the staff was always on hand to assist.
Reaction to the announcement has been swift. On Twitter, Terry Fallis, author of Up and Down, was heartfelt.
“I’m sick about this,” he wrote.
But Mark Medley, the National Post’s Book Editor doesn’t want the closing to be the last word on the book lovers treasure.
“Who wants to buy this with me? We can start some kind of co-op,” he wrote on his Twitter account.
In the bookstore’s most recent blog, dated Friday February 13, 2013, a special thank you was extended to the store’s devoted customers:
“It is, therefore, the occasion to acknowledge our gratitude to our loyal clientele for their support over many years. Since first we opened, in 1971, they have been a constant joy; and, given the frequently eclectic choices of our founder, have not only vindicated his cherished policy of less is more – hand-picked and preferably face-out – but have thoroughly endorsed a manicured, high-end tradition that has flouted competitive trends for decades.”
And while the store’s intrepid owner, Nicholas Hoare, 70, may be retiring from the bookselling business he has no intention of slowing down. He will be moving from Montreal to his 350 acre country residence in Nova Scotia. He has plans, according to his blog, for a “fledging vineyard; revamping the garden; and pure book porn: the construction of an 18,000 volume-library from scratch.” Hoare will also continue to blog about both his new permanent home and review books as he assembles his collection.