Thursday, November 21, 2013

“World’s Biggest Bookstore” Will Close in February

The Toronto retail space at 20 Edward Street, just north of Toronto Eaton Centre, that has billed itself as “the world’s biggest bookstore” since the early 1980s has been sold to developers. The bookstore currently there will close early next year.

Though the space has housed an Indigo Books for the last several years, the space was initially purchased by Jack Cole, founder of Coles Books, back in 1979. Coles Books was an important Canadian retailer. And if “Coles Notes” are familiar to you, Jack Cole was one of the reasons why. But according to Jack’s son, David, the sale doesn’t go against dad’s wishes. From the Toronto Star:
Property owner David Cole, son of Cole Books founder Jack Cole, who died in 1997, said the sale is pending. He said the story that his father was adamant that the site would always house a bookstore is an urban legend.
“I was with my dad the day he bought it in 1979. My dad would have wanted what was best for his family,” said Cole.
The store at 20 Edward St., a short block from the Eaton Centre, opened in 1980 and was a tourist attraction for many years. A former bowling alley, the space is a somewhat awkward 64,000 square feet over three levels, including an alcove on the second floor.
It’s not actually the world’s biggest bookstore. There is a Barnes & Noble in New York City that is more than twice as large. But it still houses a vast number of books, including a wall of Shakespeare, a wall of poetry and another dedicated to Manga. It has long rows of fiction, including a Star Wars section.
And, like Sam the Record Man, which closed in 2007, and Honest Ed’s, which has been sold to a Vancouver developer, the World’s Biggest Bookstore was a brash, quirky retailer that for a long time anchored Toronto’s retail landscape.
The new owners say they have “no finalized plans or intentions for the property” at the moment, but anticipate adding it to their portfolio.



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