The Toronto Women's Bookstore
is the largest
nonprofit feminist bookstore in Canada. Run and staffed primarily
by women of colour, the store sells fiction, poetry and non-fiction
by women writers to promote feminist and anti-oppression
The bookstore informally began as a single shelf of books in a
resource centre. The Bookstore began in 1973.
The bookstore was firebombed in 1985, when it was located
underneath the abortion clinic of Henry Morgentaler
By 1993, stiff competition from larger chain bookstores saw the
Toronto's Women's bookstore showing a loss. Similar situations
faced many other independent bookstores around the same time. The
bookstore reorganised its operations, expanding their inventory of
books on anti-racism, feminist theory, disability and health. The
bookstore also engaged in increased community outreach, with more
book readings and launches, as well as hosting book clubs. Combined
with a Jobs Ontario Community Action Grant, the store turned around
its operations and stopped losing money. The store also increased
its emphasis on books aimed at visible minority women, with
separate sections titled "African-Canadian," "Caribbean," "South
Asian" "First Nations," "Latina," and "Arab."
near the University of
Toronto, the bookstore stocks the texts used in many
anthropology, sociology and women's
history courses offered at the University.
business of students in these courses amount to roughly two thirds
of the bookstore's total sales.
In addition to book sales, the store hosts book clubs, book
launches and author signings. It also runs courses on a variety of
subjects of interest to women, including knitting, writing, and
explorations of bisexuality.
The Toronto Women's Bookstore was voted "Best Bookstore in Toronto"
by NOW Magazine
- Mitchell, 57
- Lehay (1996)
- Herman (1994)
- Keinlin (2006)
- Piepzna-Samarasinha (2006)