If you’re a reader/book lover from Hamilton Ontario, let me tell you about this gem I just discovered.
The James Street Bookseller. Now, me having just discovered it doesn’t mean it’s new by any means! Monique, the lovely owner of the shop, told me that they’ve been there for six years!
Where has it been hiding!? I have spent so many days walking that street (James Street South, to be a little bit more specific) and I never noticed this absolute slice of heaven before?! Blasphemy! I drove by today (while heading to park for my doctor’s appointment) and had to do a double-take. I literally ran to check it out from the parking lot and, sticking my head against the window with my jaw dropped, made the vow to visit when it opened (it opens at 1pm from Tues-Friday).
As soon as you walk in, it’s an overload to a bibliophile’s senses. I was literally shaking, my heart pounding like a woman in love, as my wide eyes took in all the beauty that surrounded me. Walls, floor to ceiling, packed with books. The most gorgeous library ladder I’ve ever seen. Beautiful vintage details, all around. Antique books with such exquisite character. Slightly used books with life, with an eagerness that draws you to pull them off the shelves, to dive right in. I. Was. In. HEAVEN!
Not only was the environment warm, inviting, and beyond stunning, but Monique, the book seller who was there to greet me (and who asked if I wanted my picture taken on the library stares – UM, YES PLEASE!) was beyond lovely, and clearly shared a passion for this amazing space she created for fellow bibliophiles.
This bookstore also supports local artists. The basement – which is gorgeous in and of itself – is an “art space” where art shows happen on special evenings at the shop. I love supporting local businesses, and I love supporting them, even more, when they support the local arts scene as it plays an important role in my life since Mr. J is an actor. Perhaps when I’ve finally completed my sexual assault survivor project, maybe I will reach out to Monique for using the space for spreading project word and having a fundraising event…
I wish I wandered into this bookshop without an appointment to attend to. If I didn’t have to run off to an appointment, I would have spent hours and hours there, overwhelmed and so in love with all that surrounded me. I was in my happy place.
I left with an amazing vintage book to add to my collection: a 1950s edition of Lord of the Rings! Can you believe it?!
I can’t wait to head back and spend more glorious moments in this wonderful little bookstore! It is, without question, the most beautiful little bookstore in the GTA. And take my word on that! I’m one to frequent bookshops wherever I go, and the close second for me is a bookshop in Stratford (and it’s WAY behind this one!).
If you live anywhere close to downtown Hamilton and you’re a bibliophile, this shop is not to be missed! Make the trip. But check hours online, first! Trust me when I say that you’ll be standing on the outside, looking in, and disappointed beyond belief if you can’t get in!
Oh — and these pictures do NO JUSTICE to the James Street Bookseller!