Glad Day Bookshop

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Glad Day Bookshop is an independent bookstore in Toronto, Ontario, specializing in LGBT literature. The store is located at 598A Yonge Street near the city's Church and Wellesley neighbourhood. The store's name and logo are based on a painting by William Blake.

History[edit]

Opened in 1970 by Jearld Moldenhauer, it was the city's and Canada's first bookstore targeted to the gay community. The bookstore originally operated out of Moldenhauer's apartment in The Annex, which also served as the original offices of The Body Politic.[1] Moldenhauer later moved to a house in Kensington Market, where the bookstore and magazine operated out of a shed in his backyard.[1] The store moved to its current location in 1981.

In 1979, Moldenhauer opened a second location in Boston. A fire destroyed the Boston building in 1982, but the store reopened in a different location a few weeks later.[2]

Norman Laurila, an employee of Glad Day in the 1970s, moved with his partner Richard Labonté and friend George Leigh in 1979 to Los Angeles, where the trio established an influential LGBT bookstore of their own, A Different Light.

Moldenhauer sold the Toronto location to John Scythes in 1991, but retained ownership of the Boston store and continued to be involved in the Toronto store's operations.[2] After the Boston store's landlord decided to convert the building into condominiums, Moldenhauer closed the store in 2000 when he and manager John Mitzel faced difficulty finding a suitable new location.[3]

From 1998 to early 2005, the science fiction bookstore Bakka-Phoenix was located on the main floor of the same building as Glad Day's Toronto store.

The Toronto location remains open, and is currently managed by Scott Dagostino. Since the closure of New York City's Oscar Wilde Bookshop in early 2009, Glad Day is now the oldest surviving LGBT bookstore in North America.[1] In late 2011, Scythes announced that he was putting the store up for sale due to declining revenues;[4] the store was ultimately purchased by a collective of 22 community members, spearheaded by teacher Michael Erickson[5] and also including former Xtra! managing editor Marcus McCann, former Pride Toronto executive director Fatima Amarshi, community activists Doug Kerr and Mike Went, lawyer El-Farouk Khaki[6] and performer Troy Jackson. Under its current ownership, the store has attempted to revitalize its role as a cultural hub, adding an event space to host author readings, performances and community group meetings, and conducting a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo in 2013 to fund and launch an online bookstore for LGBT titles.[7]

Social involvement[edit]

The business frequently donates books to organizations such as the Pride Library at the University of Western Ontario.

Like its counterpart in Vancouver, Little Sister's, Glad Day's materials have been frequently confiscated by Canada Customs during importation as "obscene materials",[4] culminating in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice case R. v. Glad Day Bookshops Inc. in 2003.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Glad Day now oldest gay bookstore", Xtra!, February 6, 2009.
  2. ^ a b "Sad Day for Glad Day Bookshop". Publishers Weekly, June 26, 2000.
  3. ^ "And then there was one". Bay Windows, July 14, 2005.
  4. ^ a b "Toronto’s Glad Day Bookshop up for sale". Toronto Star, December 27, 2011.
  5. ^ "A Glad Day for Glad Day Bookshop". Torontoist, February 8, 2012.
  6. ^ "Glad Day investors want more diverse, accessible shop". Xtra!, February 8, 2012.
  7. ^ "World’s oldest operating LGBT bookstore revitalized by community". The Globe and Mail, June 29, 2013.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°38′55″N 79°22′39″W / 43.648544°N 79.377594°W / 43.648544; -79.377594