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.