After much reflection, and forty years of service, Nicholas Hoare is retiring. Our flagship store in Toronto will close on April 1st.

Until then, however, we shall continue to function full-speed ahead, maintaining regular hours as posted. Special orders, credit notes and gift certificates will be honoured as usual; and, to further accommodate customers, can also be collected between noon and 2:00 p.m., Monday to Friday, for the first two weeks of April, after which they will necessarily be cancelled.;

Thus concludes a golden era in bookselling, from three entirely different cities, each with its own character, style and tastes. With the Front Street lease now up for renewal (through Allied, our amenable, long-term landlords), he has decided to mark his 70th birthday with an orderly run-off, the sale of his trademark fixtures, and a full-time move to his 350-acre property in Nova Scotia.

It is, therefore, the occasion to acknowledge our gratitude to our loyal clientele for their support over many years. Since first we opened, in 1971, they have been a constant joy; and, given the frequently eclectic choices of our founder, have not only vindicated his cherished policy of less is more – hand-picked and preferably face-out – but have thoroughly endorsed a manicured, high-end tradition that has flouted competitive trends for decades.

On behalf of our entire staff, therefore, a 12-gun salute to our many customers, old and new. It’s been a privilege to serve you; we’re profoundly grateful; and we wish you and your reading well – including, we hope, this blog.

(More about Nova Scotia)

The Hoare house is located in Annapolis Royal – a bucolic, country community, two and a half hours south-west of Halifax. Adjoining the Bay of Fundy, with rich soil and a micro-climate, it is not only highly conducive to gardening, but also such crops as peaches, apples – and grapes.

Plans include a fledgling vineyard; revamping the garden; and pure book porn: the construction of an 18,000-volume library from scratch. The latter will play a predominant part in our blog going forward, along with the property as a whole.

It is also his intent to modernise the only stone house for miles. Virtually untouched since the fifties, this unique residence was built in 1935, on steel beams, to exacting standards, by the then Vice-Chairman of ALCOA, who literally bought his own quarry to do so.

Like both previous owners, Nicholas fully expects to be taken out in a box.




  1. I am extremely sad about the closing of your bookstores. For years, I have haunted your three stores because they were the only places where one could find interesting and good british books. I go regularly to britain and I bring back a fair quantity of books but it is not close. Also, I am in love with the medium itself. I need to buy, handle, feel, turn a page of a paper of a book and once read set aside in my bookcase and revisit it after a while

  2. You will be missed. Books have always been a part of my life. Being Deaf I will read for hours. In May 2012, I discovered your Toronto store for the first time. I bought a good number of really enjoyable books. I was having emergency eye surgery and wanted to get my mind off that. All the best in your retirement, you will be missed. Jim.

  3. With so many book lovers around, it is so sad that there is no one who c/would buy the chain or at least one store to keep it going – was selling not considered or there were no buyers?
    At this rate, soon there will be no real bookstores left. A tragedy for for book lovers individually and for the culture at large.

  4. My mom used to take me to visit Nicholas Hoare in Toronto when I was a child. I vividly remember playing in the children’s section at the back of the store. Ever since then, I have enjoyed visiting and selecting books for myself, family and friends. I especially enjoyed Nicholas’ book talks; my friend and I always looked forward to seeing what books Nicholas was in love with that season, and then poring over the list and choosing a few books for ourselves.
    I am really heartbroken to hear that it will be closing; there are no other book stores like it in Canada. Toronto and other Canadian cities need more book stores like this.
    I wish Nicholas well at his beautiful home in Nova Scotia.

  5. With regret, I read the story of the last Nicholas Hoare closing. I regret the closure as my husband and I have many beautiful memories of significant events spent there. For example, in 2007, we spent many hours visiting the store and buying up volume after volume in between Grey Cup activities – our team of course won that year, which makes the memories especially fond. I also have the fondest memory of our 2 year old experiencing the Ottawa store for the first time. I have a vivid picture in my minds’eye of our bouncy boy, feet akimbo (no socks) on the lovely couch snuggled up with my husband, as he read our son the latest Boynton book. And Montreal – the lovely store in Ogilvy’s – well what else do you need to say but Montreal and Ogilvy’s. Sigh. Bliss. Having said all that, as bibliophiles, we can actually understand the decision. Having recently acquired an Ipad, and finally relented to try Kindle and other readers, I get what the future looks like. It seems the reasons may be different than that, but certainly the future will not be kind to bookstores, independent or otherwise. And yet, some of our most precious memories will always be associated with books – the texture and feel and the excitement when you see the crisp spine on a shelf at Hoare’s. Thanks for the most lovely memories and enjoy your new adventures.

  6. Sorry to hear the news but congratulations to Nicholas Hoare and staff for a storied run. Our nature guide Up North was launched at a special camping-theme party at the store 20 years ago. It may have been the last launch party at the store because we almost burned the place down when one of the kids pulled a flaming marshmallow out of the lit fireplace and waved it around. Sorry about that. But the book went on to become a success and the launch party occupies a special place in my memories. Best wishes for the future to staff and owner.

  7. I miss the Ogilvy and Westmount bookshops, and wish someone could have continued your work. The people (and Oscar) were extraordinary and kind. I would usually stop by when stressed out and then leave with a bag or two of books. I have read each one. One day, after selecting the Dan Jones book on the Plantagenets (because of Shakespeare), a gentleman standing there suddenly said “You have the eye of a hawk”, and I felt very shy, and on my way to the cash register, almost stepped on poor Oscar’s tail (did not see him and he did not budge). Today I learned that the Toronto store will be closing in April. So sad. The Nicholas Hoare bookstore was unique. Good luck to all the good people at Nicholas Hoare in Montreal and in Toronto. Thank you all for so much beauty.
    Oscar, continue to reign over books and music. I will miss you, too.
    Thank you, Nicholas Hoare. You have had your vision.

  8. So sad to hear this! The bookstore is an idyllic oasis in my neighbourhood. But wishing you the best for your retirement plans near lovely Annapolis Royal. Please post regularly on your blog!

  9. My dear St Nicholas of the bookshops: you have earned your rest. The happiness you have given to untold book lovers over four decades is your legacy. You can leave with eyes shining, head held high, and your trademark enigmatic smile unfading.

    • Dear Mr. Trent,

      Your comments capsulize the feelings of so many fans on the loss of the unique and great Nicolas Hoare bookstores. Thank you for your efforts on behalf of Sir Nicolas.
      Former resident of Westmount

      • Always sad to see unique bookstores go .. nothing I enjoy more that sitting with a good book .. 40 years is a long time to be giving your oasis to the community .. good luck in your future endeavours.

  10. I want you to know you will be sincerely missed. I loved my little book store in Westmount.. and I am truly sad you are closing your last location. I do understand the desire to retire to a life of enjoyment gardening 🙂 I wish you peace, happiness and time to
    enjoy your home in Nova Scotia.

    Warm Regards


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here