A Report from Our Agent in the Field: Indie Bookstores of Ottawa

When my friend, Teng, told me that she was going to Ottawa for law school, I asked her if she could keep an eye out for indie bookstores that we could maybe shine a brief spotlight on. And she did. And here is her post.

TengTeng is currently a Juris Doctor candidate at University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law, English Common Law Section. Her legal areas of interest include international law, entertainment law and feminist law. When Teng is not submerged in all things legal, she is a coffee and tea junkie, foodie, nail polish collector, dog lover and an avid reader (when the law allows). She likes to read young adult fantasy, contemporary literary fiction and nonfiction on feminism, ethnic culture and whatever that caught her eye. Teng also holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC.

Black Squirrel Books & Tea

First location (the one I visited): 508 Bank St. Ottawa, Ontario

Second location: 1073 Bank St. Ottawa, Ontario

(613) 600-3405

Opened since 2011, specializing in academic non-fiction, buy and sell used books.

I still did see some fiction and a small section of graphic novels

I really liked this bookstore, it was nice, clean and cozy, and had light hardwood floors like a boutique.

Another one is like 2 blocks away from Black Squirrel, called:

Book Bazaar

417 Bank Street Ottawa, ON,

Monday to Saturday 10:00 to 6:00 Sunday 1:00 to 5:00

It first opened in 1974, apparently its a family-owned small business. It mostly has used books, books on music, sheet music, I think I saw some of those leather-bound hardcovers in glass cases too. This one really had the old bookstore feel, piles of books everywhere, kind of like McLeod’s actually, but a little less messy. Really quiet in here too, feels a little imposing, less friendly than Black Squirrel.

The Comic Book Shoppe

I completely found this by accident as I was walking along Bank Street yesterday. When I walked in, my initial thought was, I’ve just stepped into Geek’s Bazaar. It was kind of surreal seeing all these games, movies, comics, just a plethora of pop culture items everywhere. I particularly liked the displays on Game of Thrones, Tim Burton and…Sailor Moon!!! They have Sailor Moon!!! Some of the clothes were really cute, and I was tempted to buy the hoodie for Lilo ‘n Stitch if not for the fabric. I’m kind of wondering if the Sailor Moon outfit was for some kind of a Sailor Moon fetish, perhaps?  Though this store was definitely a pleasant surprise, some of the things they carry indicate a specific customer target (male), and I wish that they would carry something from Hayao Miyazaki, like a Totoro or neko no bus stuffed toy maybe?

The one I went to is on Bank Street, here are the details: 228 Bank Street Ottawa, ON K2P 1X1

Their other store, also near Ottawa, it’s in the ‘burbs I think: 1400 Clyde Ave Nepean, ON K2G3J2