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A new French bookstore for Toronto in 2015

July 30, 2015 | By francecanadaculture Canada

One year after La maison de la presse, the last French bookstore in Toronto, closed its doors, Quebec City’s Librairie du quartier—which only opened a year ago itself—is opening a second storefront in Ontario’s provincial capital, according to an announcement from one of its co-owners, Christophe Gagnon-Lavoie.

“We’ve already found a location. [...] A place that Francophones are already familiar with. The process will be easier,” he said.

Popular demand

Christophe Gagnon-Lavoie and his business partner are among those who helped Quebec City’s Cartier Street maintain its status as a literary showcase. In fact, the two friends started their own business following the bankruptcy of the Bouquinerie de Cartier bookstore, filling the space left vacant in April 2014.

Librairie du Quartier’s expansion into Ontario was practically the result of popular demand. “People had been approaching us about this and we finally accepted,” said Gagnon-Lavoie, manager of both the Cartier Street bookstore and the second bookstore. “I’ll order books for both stores from Québec City. That way, we don’t need two people doing the same job.”

The Toronto location will be smaller, with two full-time employees and a selection of about half of the 8,000 titles available in Quebec.

Hard copy only

Gagnon-Lavoie, who has sold books out of the Bouquinerie for several years now, is among the diehard believers in the survival of the printed word. Not only is he unafraid of the digital market, he “doesn’t worry about it”. “People like to give tablets as gifts, but very rarely do they give barcodes the same way. Tablets just end up as tablets. Our customers appreciate the quality of the paper, the smell of it. They want to be able to touch the book.”

The Toronto location of the Librairie du Quartier will renamed in order to better express its linguistic personality. It will have a mission similar to that of its sister store: selling “French-language books on a large scale”, in the words of its future manager. He is counting on the Ontario academic market in the early days, especially since he will have no competitors in the market.