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World’s Biggest Bookstore is for Rent

Photo by {a href=""}Ian Muttoo{/a}.

The World’s Biggest Bookstore may not be a bookstore for much longer. Local news website Yonge Street is reporting that the owners of the building—the family of Jack Cole, who co-founded the store—are not going to be renewing their lease with the bookstore’s current owner, Indigo Books & Music. The property’s real estate agent, Stuart Smith, tells Yonge Street that the family is looking for a new single tenant to take over the 64,000-square-foot space after the lease expires in 2013.

See also:

A Short History of the World’s Biggest Bookstore


  • Vampchick21

    Noooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!! Now where can I go to kill an afternoon and drop a lot of monies?

    • Anonymous

      An independent bookstore? There aren’t many left in town, and I’m sure they’d appreciate your custom.

      • Vampchick21

        I do go to independant bookstores actually. I just love bookstores and the closing of any, big or small, chain or not, sits poorly with me.

    • Anonymous

      Book City! Best bookstores in Toronto.

    • Peter Dougherty

      Bakka/Phoenix for fantasy and science fiction. A wonderful place with a long, strong and proud Toronto tradition.

  • Guest

    It may be awkwardly laid out, but with a footprint like this, a downtown Target store would be awesome here.

    • Maria


    • Best Guest

      No, actually, a bookstore would be awesome here.

  • boulevardier423

    Over the last few years, it’s been interesting to notice how
    the display racks and book tables have disappeared and
    the remaining racks and tables be spread out to fill the

    This announcement comes as no surprise since the store
    has been depleting itself for close to a decade now.
    In other words, a slow motion death watch.

    Where am I going to get my Saturday Guardian on Saturday, now?

    • Maria

      the internet?

      • Canadianskeezix

        I presume boulevardier423 has heard about the internet (although maybe you should check with Torontoist to make sure he didn’t fax in his comment), but thanks for your helpful response. There are those of us who like to read an actual physical newspaper.

  • Anonymous

    I hope the new tenant is some foreign-owned megastore to drive out Canadian businesses.

  • Anonymous

    Great place for an Ikea!

  • Anonymous

    It’s got to be a big box store – who else could afford the rent on all that space, downtown?

  • Anonymous


    They’ll tear it down and put in a condo. Or a flagship store for a mediocre big-box chain like The Brick, that wants to rebrand itself as more “urban” and “downtown-y”.


    Ryerson buys it and renovates it into architecturally interesting classrooms.


    A park.

    • CRS

      The space is going up for rent, not for sale. Fron what I’ve heard, Mrs Coles, who is in her nineties and owns the property, has stipulated that as long as she is alive Worlds Biggest Bookstore must be a bookstore out of respect for her husband’s accomplishments. The lease is up, yes, but I have no doubt that WBB will renew its lease on a yearly basis for a few more years. Because if the space is only for rent, what business can afford the overhaul and rebranding it would take to transfigure a space that size? WBB will not be gone so fast.

  • Anonymous

    Roller Rink.

  • Kevin

    Before it was a Bookstore, it was a bowling alley…………

  • CRS

    Hold your horses, kids! From what I’ve heard, Mrs. Coles, widow of Jack Coles and who owns the property and is in her nineties, has stipulated that as long as she is alive the property must be a bookstore out of respect for her husband’s accomplishments. The property is not up for sale, but rather the building is for rent. It is much more likely that Indigo will renew the lease on a year by year basis, as it would be simplest for everyone involved. It would be difficult to find a company financially confident enough to pay for the overhaul and rebranding required to transfigure a space like that without the knowledge that they own it. WBB will be around for a little while longer – no fear.

    • Lindsay

      I hope your right. Still, Mrs Cole should watch her back in case the subtext is that someone plans to kill her by the end of 2013.


    Demolish it, the bottom half can be used for much better public things. And high rise residential up top. This one block is pretty useless. The stores that occupy the whole perimeter are things found in Eaton Centre or can do without (except Panera Bread).

    • Anonymous

      Toronto in a nutshell that comment.

      Demolish it, build a high rise. Nothing is there I like…..except the expensive bread place.

      Rob Ford would be proud.

      • Anonymous

        To be fair, we do have a density problem…