If you’re a book lover, there’s nothing else like the joys of whiling away an afternoon book shopping. Fortunately, Montreal has some fantastic independent bookstores for both new and secondhand books. Some of them are well-categorized and modern, while others will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Here’s a list of 6 that we love.
Drawn & Quarterly
One of Montreal’s best-loved bookstores, Drawn & Quarterly started as a single-issue magazine in 1989 and has grown over the years to become an internationally known publisher of some of the best modern cartoonists. The company has two storefronts in the Mile End neighbourhood and stocks an impressive selection of graphic novels, new releases, poetry, classics, art books, and much more. Stop by and have a peek —you will love it.
Address: 176 + 211 Bernard Avenue West
2. S. W. Welch Bookseller
Just a few blocks away from Drawn & Quarterly on St. Viateur Avenue is another popular haven for book lovers. S. W. Welch is a small, second-hand bookseller with a carefully curated selection of books. The owner and the resident cat are very friendly, and there is a cozy couch for reading. Although the selection is not overly large, they carry many rare books, favourite authors, and those classics you’ve always wanted to read. You are more than likely to leave with some treasures.
Address: 225 Rue St. Viateur West
3. Appetite for Books
Although this shop is a bit further away, just west of downtown in Westmount, it well deserves a mention for being Montreal’s one and only cookbook shop. For foodies, and anyone who just enjoys perusing a good cookbook, this a fun destination. A large collection of cookbooks is organized by type and genre in a well lit modern space. They also offer cooking classes and tastings at the same location – check the website for more details.
Address: 388 Victoria Avenue, Westmount
4. Argo Bookshop
Argo Bookshop is Montreal’s oldest English-language bookstore and a favourite among locals and visitors alike. Founded in 1966 and still in the original Ste. Catherine street location it is a welcoming place to sit, read, and chat. The selection of fiction and non-fiction covers many genres with a focus on books on linguistics and Japan, as well as race, gender, and queer issues.
Address: 1915 rue Sainte-Catherine West
5. The Word
Established in 1975, The Word is a favourite among the city’s vibrant student community and just about everyone. Located on Milton street near McGill University, the bookstore specializes in literature, philosophy, and poetry. A section at the front of the store displays the latest work of Montreal poets beneath a framed portrait Montreal’s beloved Leonard Cohen.
Address: 469 Milton Street
6. Librairie Henri-Julien
This small space on the Plateau is packed to the rafters with secondhand books. Although they carry a selection of English-language books, most are in French. Opened in 1987, the shop specializes in rare and out-of-print books. It is a quaint experience and a pleasant place to while away a few hours.
Address: 4800 Henri Julien Avenue
“His hands were weak and shaking from carrying far too many books from the bookshop. It was the best feeling.”
― Joseph Gordon-Levitt, The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories, Vol. 1