Category Archives: Favourite Bookstores

Aqua Books to serve its own soup

moving.jpgA little while back I blogged about Aqua Books, the Winnipeg independent bookstore that captured the attention of a certain soup company for use of an Andy Warhol-style logo featuring a red and white labeled soup can. It’s just been officially announced that the bookstore will soon be serving soup as well as other fare at a new location on Garry Street in Winnipeg.  And seeing as how owner Kelly Hughes’ wife Candace Hughes, a Winnipeg-trained and seasoned chef, will be making the soup, it definately won’t be coming from a red and white labeled can.

The move to 274 Garry Street (the former Kam Kong Restaurant) is planned for March 2008. The 8,400 square foot two-storey building will include a 1,200 square foot space for events, the restaurant, called EAT! bistro, and, of course, books. The store’s popular ideaExchange, Free Your Mind, and the Stone Soup Storysellers series will continue. New events, enough to require an events coordinator, are also planned including a reading series inspired by the recently announced Aqua Books Landsdowne Prize for Poetry. With the ultimate departure of McNally’s Portage Place location from downtown, Aqua Books is poised to become an even more prominent literary and cultural fixture in downtown Winnipeg.  The best part – – abundant parking allowing lots of time to browse even more books.  Speaking of which, I’ve already done a lot of my Christmas shopping at Aqua – great t-shirts and great books.  It will be business as usual as far as buying goes until the move, so, check out the lovely soon-to-be-old location while you still can.  Find out more, including ongoing updates on what customers can expect at the new location here

Books vs. Soup…

aquabooksIf you have followed this blog for a while, you might have read about my favourite used bookstore – Aqua Books. In addition to describing some of the cool things that happen there (besides the selling of great used books at great prices) I think I may have mentioned some of the cool magnets that can be found inside the store. From time to time, other items are available through the store which are branded with familiar-looking logos with the original company name replaced with the words “Aqua Books”.  It’s all tongue and cheek, harmless, and, actually a homage of sorts to the original company in a way (except for maybe a U.S.-based department store that seems intent on taking over the world, but, I digress). Anyway, a certain company, let’s call them a Scottish named company that sells soup, has taken notice and isn’t pleased. You can read more about it here. 

I urge all book and soup lovers to show your support.  Buy Aqua Books.  

My favourite used book store…

aquabooksYesterday I wrote about my favourite seller of new books.  Today, some information on my favourite used bookstore, Aqua Books. If you are a follower of the smart, witty and informative Aqua Books weekly e-mail (sign up at, you already know bookstore owner Kelly Hughes (also smart, witty and informative) is planning on moving from his current location in the West exchange district on Princess Street.  The plan, as explained by Kelly to his loyal followers and to the Winnipeg Free Press in this recent article, is to open a combination bookstore and bistro in a larger location, but, still likely downtown somewhere.  Kelly’s wife, a trained chef, will take over the bistro end of the business. 

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One more reason to visit Winnipeg… Saskatoon, Calgary & New York

no_thumb.gifIn my last post I neglected to mention one of the best book-related reasons to visit Winnipeg… That’s because McNally Robinson Booksellers deserves a post of its own. As reported in Manitoba Calling Magazine in 2003, Holly McNally has been running bookstores in Winnipeg since 1981 when she opened a corner bookstore with business partner Rob Robinson. He later left the business to pursue a career in radio.You may remember McNally Robinson in the strip mall near Grapes on Grant and Kenaston, and, later a second store in Osborne Village. About 10 years ago, with other independent bookstores in Canada succumbing to the arrival of big box stores, Holly and her husband Paul McNally decided to close the two McNally Robinson locations and build their own super store –  the 21,000 square foot space at Grant Park Shopping Centre.

Today, McNally Robinson Booksellers Grant Park draws readers from across the city, province and beyond. A second store, McNally Robinson at Portage Place, is conveniently located downtown. With the success of the Winnipeg stores, McNally’s expanded to Saskatoon, Calgary, and, most recently, to New York. A recent article in Macleans Magazine,“The Little Indie that Could: how did a couple from the Peg end up with the best bookstore in NYC?”, details the success of the New York store opened by the McNally’s oldest daughter Sarah in 2004. (See some visitor reviews here) . The article reveals that another McNally’s location, operated by daughter Tory, will open in Toronto next year.  A third store is also planned for Winnipeg.   

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