V – Munro’s Books of Victoria – BC Canada

WELCOME to the letter V and to this year’s theme: BOOKSHOPS

1108 Government St. Victoria BC Canada 250-382-2464

Munro’s Books filled all my criteria for inclusion in this year’s theme for the 2018 AtoZ Blog Challenge. Munro’s has been a destination for book lovers for more than 50 years occupying a landmark location in the heart of Victoria’s Old Town. I wrote in an earlier post that besides reading and writing, architecture, preservation, and revitalization are passions of mine. Imagine my pleasure when my research led me to this bookstore located in this fine neo-classical building designed for the Royal Bank of Canada in 1909 by Thomas Hooper, the architect of many of B.C.’s finest commercial and public buildings. The beautiful coffered 24ft. ceiling closely resembles the ceiling of the porch of the great library of Ephesus built by the Romans in the 2nd century AD.

Jim Munro, the owner of Munro Books, bought the building, which had been tastelessly modernized in the 1950’s and set to work restoring it to its former glory. In only 8 weeks, it was refurbished and ready for business. The building has since received two heritage awards. These photographs capture what a magnificent setting the repurposing of this building is for a bookstore.

A little background: In 1963, Jim Munro and wife Alice Munro (yes, that one) opened a shop on Yates Street, near Victoria’s movie theatres. There were few bookstores in Victoria at that time, but this location was convenient and the staff’s interest in new writing trends and art forms built a loyal clientele. Another move to Fort Street and in 1984 to its current location.  Jim Munro announced his retirement in 2014. He turned the ownership of the store over to four long-term staff members. Mr. Munro died in 2016 with tributes from across the country testifying to the success of Munro’s legacy lovingly built. Let us hope that this wonderful bookshop goes on and on.






About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her: Stephenyhoughtlin.com
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12 Responses to V – Munro’s Books of Victoria – BC Canada

  1. noelleg44 says:

    I’ve just put this bookstore on myu list of must-sees when we are next in that area!

  2. A truly spectacular building, and lovely reading your post. Thank you. When I took my American husband to Europe (I’m originally from Romania), he couldn’t stop marveling at the history of so many buildings. I finally had to tell him that’s a normalcy in Europe, and not just with public buildings. My grandmother’s house, for example, is 100 years old, and we walked over bridges that are a thousand years old. Nothing remotely close to that here in SoCal, of course.
    Delightful post. Think I’m going to bookmark and show my husband.

    • When I decided to write about BOOKSTORES for the theme this year, my favorite research included the architecture/location of a place like Munro’s. Repurposing these historic buildings make me smile. It is obvious you have had wonderful opportunities to enjoy European architecture so I’m glad this post was of interest to you. Thanks for leaving your interesting comment.

  3. eschudel says:

    One of my favourite bookstores!!

  4. Oh- this looks like another wonderful bookstore I could get lost in!
    I was wondering if you would pick Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena for the letter V which has a wonderful history. I began going there as a girl when mother let me have a charge account there. All I had to do was sign my name and they’d send the bill. I still go there as often as I can though now they take debit and credit cards like everyone else.

    • I have taken note of Vroman’s so I can search it out. Had I known about it and your wonderful story connected to the bookstore, I would definitely have used it. Thanks for leaving this comment so others can find their way to visiting.

  5. As a fan of Munro’s books, this is a bookstore worth noticing. And like Claire, above, I love Wroman’s in Pasadena.

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