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Iconic Toronto Book Store Shutting Down

22 November 2013

It was a sad day yesterday in Toronto when it was announced that the World’s Biggest Bookstore (which it wasn’t,) had been sold to a developer and the bookstore would be shutting its doors in February. The news got a lot of reaction on social media as fans talked about their favorite World’s Biggest Bookstore memories, and what it has come to mean to them over the years. Others though, were not shocked and many indicated that in a digital world, more of the same is to be expected in the future.

The book store sat on a prime piece of real estate, just one block from the Yonge-Dundas Square and Eaton Centre, at 20 Edward Street. The World’s Biggest Bookstore wasn’t the first mega-store to sit on the site, and to quickly win over the hearts of Torontonians. Jack Cole, who had first purchased it, passed away in 1997 but only after selling it to his son, David Cole. David has been leasing out the space to Indigo Books & Music, who were operating it at the World’s Biggest Bookstore. Prior to that the space was leased by Sam the Record Man, which closed its doors in 2007. Now, who knows what’s to come of the site – except that it will likely become another high-rise condo or hotel.

The developer who purchased the Toronto commercial site is Lifetime Developments. They have not yet said what their plans on for the site, but they are well-known for developing the Four Seasons Hotel. It’s this piece of information that has seemed to be the last straw for many living in the city that want to have something more than just condos to look at while enjoying what little the city has left to offer.

The reaction on Twitter was mostly of fond memories, some writing about how the store had helped them as new immigrants to learn English, while others just went there every Saturday to browse their favourite selections.

If it wasn’t sadness, the other reaction being heard loudly was anger at yet another big developer adding to the concrete jungle, and the skyline made of concrete.

“With all these stores closing and replaced with more and more condo towers, where will all the people who will supposedly live in these places go shopping?” writes J of the P.

Laputa agreed, replying, “Wow, just what we need – more condos or high priced hotels so that visitors to Toronto will have no where to go and nothing to see.”

What do you think about the closing of World’s Biggest Bookstore? Are you angry or sad about it? Or indifferent, knowing that this is bound to continue happening as consumers continue to use the Internet, tablets, and smartphones  for most of their shopping needs?

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