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Toronto Women’s Bookstore to close

One of Canada’s last dedicated feminist bookshops, the Toronto Women’s Bookstore, will close its doors on Nov. 30.

Owner Victoria Moreno posted a note on the store’s website:

The fact is book markets have changed radically in the past few years. Ebooks, fierce online competition and a stagnant economy have all contributed to our business model becoming no longer sustainable. I’m closing the bookstore with the bittersweet knowledge that I did my best. I gave everything I had; physically, emotionally, and financially. I’ve learned a great deal about every aspect of the business and I have no regrets.

The Toronto Women’s Bookstore, which opened as a non-profit operation in 1973, was almost destroyed in 1983 when a Morgentaler clinic, located in the same building, was firebombed. Financial difficulties in 1992 resulted in the shop being run by a volunteer staff member for six months.

In 2009, Toronto Women’s Bookstore faced closure, in part due to the softening of academic sales, which generated up to 75 per cent of annual revenues. By spring 2010, Morena, a former employee, became the store’s first private owner, renovating the space to include a café and garden patio.

The past decade has seen the closure of several other Canadian women’s bookstores. Vancouver’s Women in Print closed in 2008, and in July 2012, Ottawa’s Mother Tongue Books was shuttered, leaving Thunder Bay’s Northern Women’s Bookstore as the last of its kind in the country.

A future celebration of the Toronto Women’s Bookstore is planned, with details to be made available on its website.