Winnipeg Used Book Hunting

Of the many things we could have done on our vacation, we decided that we wanted to spend a day visiting used bookstores. The Winnipeg Association of Secondhand Booksellers actually has a “Book Hunting Map”. We didn’t make it to all of them, as some weren’t open and there weren’t enough hours in the day, but we did quite a tour!

Red River Book Shop

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Tucked away downtown, at 92 Arthur Street, we found this location on Yelp and not through the book hunting map. This was a fun store, with many used books (and other items) to hunt through. It was not very organized, and there were piles of books on the floor down the aisles, which only made it that much more fun to hunt!

The Neighbourhood Bookstore and Cafe

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This store was not listed on the book hunting map, but it was highly recommended on Yelp. We stopped by because it was on our way to Whodunit Mystery, and we were ready to enjoy a London Fog. The Neighborhood Bookstore and Cafe sells board games and books, and they buy used books as well. It would be a very enjoyable place to spend time!

Whodunit Mystery

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Whodunit Mystery Bookstore on 165 Lilac Street has been open since 1994. They have new books as well as used, and they offer special-order and will ship out of town. They had a great selection, and as a mystery reader I had to hold myself back from picking up lots of new authors I wanted to try. However, this store has pretty steep prices, so I was able to stop from going overboard with shopping.

Black’s Books

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Black’s Books was the coziest of the stores we visited, not because they were small, but because they were full of shelves and shelves of books! They had many books of interest, from classics to current. It was located at 2059 Portage Ave, very close to where we used to live, unbeknownst to us! They have been open since 1979. Despite the inventory, we didn’t purchase anything.

Bravo Zulu Books

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Bravo Zulu Books at 3096 Portage Ave had a huge selection and great prices. We had a few great finds here. The downside for us was finding out that the owner was moving, and hoping to sell. If they don’t find a buyer, Winnipeg will be out a great store!

Cover to Cover

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Cover to Cover was my favorite of all of the stores we visited. It looks small, but it’s bigger on the inside. It’s very streamlined, and starts with comics and goes into a huge selection of contemporary books, romances, mysteries, and sci-fi and fantasy (of course). They are at 1187 Pembina Highway, and you can visit Cover to Cover on Facebook.

Bison Books

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Bison Books (424 Graham Ave) boasts a stock of over 20,000 items, and maintains a very organized and tidy store. Their offerings seemed great for collectors, with first editions, special bindings and antiques. They are located downtown. Great atmosphere, but we didn’t find anything to purchase.

Nerman’s Books

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This place was a bit of a paradise, as it took up two huge floors! Nerman’s Books is 6000 sq. ft. full of over 100,000 books and located at 700 Osborne Street . There were many current and classic books in the collection, and also lots of collectables. We bought a few books here, and even got to take advantage of their buy 3 get one free!

Dog-Eared Books

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Dog-Eared Books was a bit out of the way, at 1157 Henderson Highway. We hit rush hour traffic, and that combined with all of the construction on the way made it a pain to get to. This store was a bit smaller than the others, and we found the prices to be higher than other secondhand stores. However, it was worth the trip because we were able to find some great books that we couldn’t find elsewhere!

Reflection

I definitely recommend doing the Winnipeg book crawl if you have some free time and love books! It can be overwhelming though if you don’t have a list of what you are looking for. Too many choices can lead to buying too many books, or too few if you can’t decide!

Ottawa Geek Market March 2015

Ottawa-Geek-Market-Doctor-Who-2015This weekend I pried myself from the computer and made my way to the fifth installment of the bi-annual Ottawa Geek Market. I figured that in all of the years that I’d been in Ottawa I’d yet to attend, so now was as good a time as ever.

In Winnipeg we had the Comic & Toy Expo, and I figured the Geek Market would be similar. Although, that is hard to determine what my expectations should be because of the extreme growth that C4-Lite experienced while I lived there. The first year I attended the Winnipeg Comic & Toy Expo it had almost a craft show / flea market feel. It was fun, and unique, because it was a place where you knew you would connect with local vendors and crafters (unlike the bigger Con, where international vendors set up shop). By the last year I was in Winnipeg though, the Comic & Toy Expo was pretty much a mini Comic Con, complete with celebrity guests and everything.

Ottawa Geek Market is interesting, and presents a weekend of fun for people of all ages. There were vendors, artists and crafters with booths and tables full of fun collectibles. There was also a great showing of local social and fan clubs. There were not celebrity guests, but there was plenty of attractions and entertainment, including game areas (tabletop and video games), stage activities, and a geeky scavenger hunt. There was also a gaming tournament and costume contest.

I would highly recommend this event for families. I saw plenty of kids dressed up and as excited as though they were at Disneyland. They got to play in a bouncy castle and a craft area, and the video game area was chock full of kids when I walked by. Even the swag bags seemed to communicate that the event was targeted for families based on the “goodies” and coupons inside, including a free child’s meal at Boston Pizza and a Child’s movie ticket for Ottawa family cinema. There was also an Ottawa Family Living Magazine and a Parenting Times magazine.

The cover charge was very high, in my opinion, considering the lack of activities for adults. I paid $20 at the door. They do offer free entry to “Real Life Superheros” (police/RCMP, 911 dispatchers, fire fighters, paramedics, military personnel and veterans, parole officers, probation officers and correctional services staff). They also offer free entry to kids 12 and under (with the purchase of an adult ticket). Advance tickets are about $5 off, if you happen to be around one of the advanced sales locations. They also advertise that $2 off of each ticket goes to local charities (this year, Heroes are Human). They also offer special admission for the last hour of each day (just $2).

The next Geek Market is scheduled for October 3-4, 2015 at the Nepean Sportsplex. Geekmarket.ca

Ottawa Comic Con will be May 8-10, 2015