Things to do in Victoria: Sidney Booktown

by admin on November 22, 2011

things to do in victoria: sidney booktownMany visitors to Victoria rarely stray out of city limits. Sure, there’s lots of thing to do in Victoria – it’s a tourist mecca, afterall – but there is also plenty of things to see and do within a short distance by car.

In fact, Sidney is pretty much an ideal driving destination, as it is on the way to either the ferries (Swartz Bay or Anacortes) and the airport, and the small seaside town is really a hidden gem: its streets are designed to be walkable, and there is plenty to see, including art galleries, an excellent fishing pier, a floating aquarium and a unique museum located below ground.

However, Sidney’s chief attraction are its bookstores. Sidney is a book town, one of only a handful in the entire world, and the only one in Canada. A book town is a town or village with a large number of second-hand or antiquarian book shops, and in this regard Sidney does not disappoint.

With only 11,000 people in town, Sidney boasts 8 bookstores, all within walking distance of each other. Each of these eight bookshops has a very unique identity and focal point. The bookstore owners are experts in their fields and have put together special collections of thousands titles and categories to choose from:

Tanner’s books
The beating heart of Sidney Book Town, Tanner’s has been a fixture in Sidney for nearly 25 years. Besides offering a huge (and we mean huge) selection of contemporary books, magazines and even international newspapers, Tanner’s is famous for its maps and nautical charts, due mainly to the fact that Sidney is a major sailing an cruising destination.

Tanner’s Bargain Books
Just across the street, this bargain bookstore is really a giant “remainder table” with once again a huge selection of hardcovers, contemporary fiction and calendars.

Children’s Bookstore
One of the only children’s bookstores remaining on Vancouver Island, the Sidney Children’s Bookstore has often been the scene of Harry Potter and Twilight book launches, and there are plenty of interesting books

Beacon Books
Beacon books is a used and antiquarian books paradise, and features many rare, collectible and hard-to-find books, plus a huge section on gardening.

Military Bookshop
This bookstore, located beneath the old post office and next to the Sidney Museum, specializes in second-hand military history and biography and ancient and modern war. It also stocks books on aviation, railroads & railways, naval history, transport, heraldry and genealogy, American politics and royalty.

Galleon Books and Antiques
This eclectic shop is a beautifully set-up store with second-hand books, collectibles and antiques. This shop specializes in non-fiction subjects, including BC history, Canadiana, First Nations, military, and art. Antiquarian and collectible books can also be found. Galleon also offers a myriad of period antiques and collectibles.

Haunted Bookshop
If you have been searching for a particular book with no success, chances are you might just find here at this special shop.

Dragon Horse Books
Devoted to a all things spiritual, this bookstore is a mecca for readers hoping to become more enlightened during their soujourn in Sidney.

So there you have it – a visit to Sidney Book Town should be at the top of your things to do in Victoria.