I am sure you have heard of the term ”busman’s holiday”, which means that someone goes on vacation and ends up doing an activity not unlike their work back home. In my case, I think you would have to call this west coast trip a ”bookman’s holiday”. As some of you will know, I have a small business selling books online. My particular specialties are children’s books and local histories of Ontario towns, counties, etc. My plan during this trip was to pick up a “few” books that I could take back home to resell. And of course, my travelling partner Rick has his own bookish interests and just cannot resist to add to his own collections when we are out and about.
Travelling through the Okanagan Valley, we thought we would take a look in Pandosy Books in Kelowna. They had a great selection of fiction and non-fiction books and I bought a few Ontario history books that I had never seen before. And Rick bought an even greater number for himself.
Then we stopped for a late lunch is Penticton. And guess what, there is a used bookstore there too, The Book Shop, which has an even greater amount of books. I inquired about books on Ontario history and was directed to an area, but with the warning that they were up high. That was an understatement. Even on their highest stool, I couldn’t reach or barely read the titles on the spines of the top shelf. But I did spy a three volume set on Oshawa, Ontario that one of the booksellers got down for me. As he explained, they don’t have a lot of demand for Ontario material, so they put them in a little more inconvenient place.
My biggest surprise was to find the 1944 Ganaraska Watershed Report on a shelf a little lower down. I live a few hundred yards from the Ganaraska Forest and this book is the seminal work that recommended the reforestation of a large area north of Lake Ontario at Port Hope, which had been stripped almost bare in the late 19th century from logging and then European settlers. The book is a scare, hard to find work, and here was a copy on a shelf in Penticton. I will never know how it got there, but it’s going back to Ontario, likely to a local buyer.
Today, we took the opportunity to visit another well-stocked store, Stillman Books in White Rock. I have copies at home of articles written by the owner of this shop, Terry Stillman, in the 1990s for a trade magazine called “AB Bookman’s Weekly”. Turns out he comes from Havelock, Ontario, not that far from me, but has lived in B.C. since the early 1970s. He has a great selection of illustrated children’s books in his shop and I could easily have spent much more time there. Rick found several vintage children’s books and I added a few more local history books to our growing assortment. Since we are staying with my sister in White Rock, we just might go back again soon.
Next week, when we head to Vancouver Island, we want to stop in Sydney, which is Canada’s only designated booktown, as well as check out some shops in Victoria. I’m beginning to wonder just how much more we can add to our car. But it won’t stop me from continuing to look for one more “just got to have” book.
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