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City Guide: YA writer and round-the-world traveller Amy Alward names the best book shops to hit in Toronto


The follow up to ‘The Potion Diaries’ is here, y’all. ‘Royal Tour’ is live, guys, it’s LIVE! Go, go! And in the spirit of Amy Alward’s book, she takes us on a literary “tour” of Toronto.

toronto

You’ll be packing your bags in a heartbeat…

A Literary Guide to Toronto

Toronto_(1)

Toronto is one of my favourite cities, and soon the place I will call home! I’ve lived there once before, as a student at the University of Toronto (where the main library is shaped like a concrete peacock)…

peacock

and I wrote my first novel in a coffee shop just north of Bloor Street. If you’re a literature lover or an aspiring novelist in Toronto, there’s plenty to see and inspire you!

 

Books set in Toronto

‘Station Eleven’ – This was one of the best books I read last year – a beautifully written, chilling post-apocalyptic tale that starts out in Toronto.

‘Scott Pilgrim’ – A set of graphic novels that are so much fun! The movie version came out in 2010 but I would always say that the books are better ;)

scott pilgrim

‘Alias Grace’ – A great Canadian-set novel, by one of Canada’s greatest writers. A classic set in 1880s Toronto, inspired by the real life story of Grace Marks, in prison for murder.

Authors who live in Toronto

Teresa Toten – Author of ‘The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B’

Teresa is a Governor General award-winning author of several amazing books, including The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B about a group of teenagers learning to live with OCD.

Eve Silver – Author of ‘Rush’

Eve is the author of the award-winning YA sci-fi series – Rush, Push, and Crash – inspired by her love of video games! They’re out now.

Margaret Atwood – Author of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Margaret Atwood is arguably one of Canada’s most famous writers, and she’s a long time resident of Toronto. She is the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. Her novels include The Blind Assassin, Alias Grace, The Robber BrideCat’s Eye, and The Handmaid’s Tale.

 

Favourite Toronto Bookstores 

BakkaPhoenix

http://laksamedia.com/bookseller-conversation-with-chris-szego-manager-of-bakka-phoenix-books/
http://laksamedia.com/bookseller-conversation-with-chris-szego-manager-of-bakka-phoenix-books/

My favourite bookstore when I lived in Toronto, this sci-fi and fantasy specialist store is packed to the brim with the newest and best in genre literature.

Mable’s Fables

http://www.mabelsfables.com/
http://www.mabelsfables.com/

*The* place to buy children’s books in Toronto, Mable’s Fables is a must-visit for book lovers! They have the absolute best staff who read widely across children’s books, so if you’re looking for a recommendation, you should stop there!

Indigo in Sherway Gardens

http://business.financialpost.com/news/retail-marketing/indigo-books-and-music-inc-posts-revenue-increase-smaller-quarterly-loss-due-to-strong-general-merchandise-sales
http://business.financialpost.com/news/retail-marketing/indigo-books-and-music-inc-posts-revenue-increase-smaller-quarterly-loss-due-to-strong-general-merchandise-sales

Indigo is the major bookstore chain in Canada and their new store in Sherway Gardens mall is b-e-a-utiful. While styling itself as more of a ‘cultural department store’ with homewares, stationery and jewellery for sale, there are still 80,000 books to browse!

 

Best Places to Write in Toronto

Distillery District

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distillery_District
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distillery_District

This gorgeous heritage district (actually a converted brewery) is stuffed with cafés, galleries and cosy corners for inspiration.  Some popular movies like Chicago and X-men were filmed on its atmospheric streets!

Boxcar Social

http://www.blogto.com/cafes/boxcar-social-toronto
http://www.blogto.com/cafes/boxcar-social-toronto

This coffee shop (I love the location north of Bloor) is just one of hundreds of cool, work-friendly cafés that are spread around T-dot. With free wifi, plug points and – of course – awesome coffee, it’s the perfect place to get down lots of words.

Libraries

libraries

Toronto has one of the busiest public library systems in North America and the University of Toronto’s library system is third only to Harvard and Yale! There are some great libraries to write in, including the enormous Toronto Reference library and the Hart House library.

Wattpad HQ

Wattpad_headquarters

Okay, so you can’t actually write at Wattpad headquarters but Toronto is the home to this insanely popular writing app. I was lucky enough to get to visit their former location a few years ago – you can read the first chapter of Royal Tour on Wattpad very soon! https://www.wattpad.com/user/AmyAlward

Have you caught up with the latest in ‘The Potion Diaries’ series? You can get your copy of ‘Royal Tour’ right here.

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Written by Sarah Clare

Profile photo of Sarah Clare

Sarah is the Lead Writer and Design Queen here at Maximum Pop! Sarah holds an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University, and a BA in Creative Writing with English Literature from Marjon (BIG UP THE MARJON MASSIVE!). Sarah joined MP! after seeing an advertisement for writers on Instagram – because where else would a design master find their dream job?

Sarah is currently working on an expose on Draco Malfoy in her spare time. But not if his father hears about it.