Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Profile of This Ain’t the Rosedale Library

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Profile of This Ain’t the Rosedale Library

Since moving to Kensington Market last July, This Ain’t the Rosedale Library has been busy hosting events and integrating itself into a new neighbourhood. The store is beside I Deal Coffee on Nassau Street and is a lovely space, filled with natural light and easy to navigate. This Ain’t the Rosedale Library has a remarkable selection, featuring small press publications, graphic novels, non-traditional fiction and one of the largest selections of contemporary poetry in Canada.

The bookstore first opened its doors in 1979 on Queen East, a neighbourhood that was, at the time, home to galleries, alternative music stores and City TV. Proprietor Charlie Huisken, who was joined by Dan Bazuin as a co-owner in 1981, envisioned the store as creative centre that would reflect their shared interests in avant-garde literature, music and art. In response to growing changes in the Queen East neighbourhood, Huisken and Bazuin moved the bookstore to a new home at Church and Wellesley in 1986. The bookstore functioned as a community space in its new location, always endeavouring to reflect the sexual and cultural diversity of the city in its offerings. This Ain’t also ran a gallery space above its store, hosting readings, exhibitions, workshops and community meetings. A wide range of authors have visited and read at the store over the years, ranging from Hunter S. Thompson and William S. Burroughs to Marnie Woodrow and Alison Bechdel. In addition to its loyal following in the city, This Ain’t has received international recognition for its efforts - it was ranked the eighth best bookstore in the world and best independent bookstore in Canada by The Guardian in 2005.

2008 marked significant changes in This Ain’t the Rosedale Library’s history. Bazuin, who joined the business in 1981, retired from the day-to-day running of the bookstore last year and Huisken’s son Jesse joined as a junior partner. After years of considering a move, the opportunity to relocate to Kensington Market also arose in 2008, and the bookstore made its third move to it present location.

The bookstore seems to have found a natural fit in the market and its street-facing patio is host to readings and events during the warmer months. Winter hasn’t deterred the energy of the store, and there have been regular readings, art exhibitions and the creation of two offbeat book clubs, The Honey and Hotsauce Book Club ,whose members have been reading Alan Bennett and Nicole Krauss, and the Kafkaesque Book Club, which explores the vast umbrella of works cited to be influenced by Kafka and the potential loss of meaning of the term “Kafkaesque” as a literary descriptor. This Ain’t the Rosedale Library will be celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, marking three decades of originality, innovation and community building.

For more information on the bookstore’s happenings and releases, visit
or join its group on Facebook, Friends of This Ain't the Rosedale Library.

Photo by Ritchie Doucet.

Writer Dani Couture has posted some gorgeous photos of This Ain't the Rosedale Library on her blog. Check them out here.

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