Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Nicholas Hoare chain to lose two out of three book shops, sources say

The Nicholas Hoare outlet in Toronto's St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood has an uncertain future after its sister stores in Ottawa and Montreal are preparing to close.

Donald Weber/The Globe and Mail

The Nicholas Hoare mini-chain of independent bookstores, famous for its high-quality selection and tastefully appointed decor, is preparing to close its Ottawa and Montreal retail locations in April, sources in the book industry say.

The imminent closings also throw into question the future of Hoare's Toronto outlet, which opened in the city's historic St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood in October, 1990. Should it close, that would effectively spell the end of the three-store business.

Mr. Hoare, when contacted on Tuesday at his Montreal office to confirm or deny reports of the shut-downs, replied: "You won't get either. You're about 48 hours or 72 ahead of the curve. We're still cleaning up the fine ends and bits and pieces that we've got down here. You're just one step ahead of the posse."

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Hoare indicated he would be able to talk more fully by the end of this week.

A native of Britain, Mr. Hoare arrived in Montreal in the late 1960s, establishing himself as a book wholesaler there in 1971. He opened an eponymous store in downtown Montreal in 1988 (closing it in late 2006), then another in Westmount. It was this outlet that New Yorker writer and former Montrealer Adam Gopnik called "my favourite bookstore in the world" last year.

The Ottawa store opened in 1994 in a historic Sussex Drive property owned by the National Capital Commission. Calls to the commission as well as the landlord of the Toronto property for comment were not returned.

Closings have become a fact of life in Canada's independent bookstore sector. Hurt first by the appearance of the Chapters chain in 1994, then Indigo Books and Music's takeover of Chapters in 2001, more recently the independents have had to contend with discounters such Amazon.ca and Toronto's BMV Bookstores, as well as steady growth in the e-book/e-reader market. It's been estimated that nearly 400 independent Canadian bookstores have closed in the past 10 years.

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author

James More

Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at privacy@globeandmail.com.