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What Happens When A Small-Town Family Visits The "World's Largest"... Whatever!

World’s Biggest Bookstore and World’s Longest Street, Toronto, Ontario

Two debatable world records didn’t keep me from checking out a “world’s largest” and a “world’s longest” while I was in Toronto last month for the TBEX (Travel Bloggers Exchange) conference!

Yonge Street

Yonge Street, Toronto, ON

Yonge Street

Until 1999, the Guinness Book of World Records recognized Yonge (pronounced “Young”) Street as the world’s longest street, because at the time, Yonge Street proper was considered part of Highway 11. The entire length of that configuration is nearly 1,200 miles end-to-end, beginning at Queen’s Quay in downtown Toronto to Rainy River, near the Minnesota and Ontario border. The world record for longest motorable road is now held by the Pan-American Highway.

I still took a stroll up Yonge Street, about a mile from the intersections of Wellington Street and Edward Street. It was such a lively thoroughfare in this section of the city, with great shopping and dining. Along the way, I resisted the pull of the tractor beams drawing me toward the Eaton Centre, Toronto’s largest mall. I had a bookstore to see.

Yonge Street

On a mission to find the “WBB.”

World’s Biggest Bookstore

It’s becoming a habit for us to visit world’s largests which are in peril of losing their title, or being lost forever. Last year, we visited the World’s Largest McDonald’s in Orlando, knowing that it would soon be oversized by a new London restaurant. In this case, the lease on the building housing the World’s Biggest Bookstore is set to expire at the end of 2013. Indigo Books and Music, the Canadian national chain which owns the “WBB,” has said it doesn’t plan to renew the lease.

World's Biggest Bookstore

Found it!

That would be a shame. This 64,000-square foot space contains more than 12 miles of bookshelves on multiple levels. Originally, it was the Coles Bookstore, opening in 1980 after Jack and Carl Cole converted it from a bowling alley. The “world’s biggest” title is actually claimed by the number of titles carried, since there are now bookstores with larger square footage.

Chapters Indigo

I did some damage in the magazine aisles…

World’s largest or not, there was plenty of enticing merchandise; books, stationery, and gifts. A whole bacon-related product display stopped me in my tracks, and led to the purchase of a bacon bookmark. I completely succumbed in the four- aisle magazine section. There were Canadian and British titles there I’ve never seen before in the U.S., and I scooped them up!

Get there before it’s too late! World’s Biggest Bookstore, 20 Edward Street, Toronto, Ontario (416) 977-7009

7 comments

  1. July 16, 2013 @ 8:56 am

    We were at TBEX too. Wish we’d had a chance to meet. Ha-ha on above. Great concept. Am sure there’s a never-ending world’s largest or biggest this or that. We did a Roadstories post on Canada’s love of town mascots. The LARGEST of them all is the “World’s Largest Dinosaur” in Canada’s “Dinosaur Capital” :- ) I’m adding a link to mascot post which shows a pic, http://roadstories.ca/big-mascots-in-canada/

    • Traci Suppa said,
      July 16, 2013 @ 10:38 am

      Thanks for the link…there are SO many large roadside attractions in Canada! Someday, we’ll get up there for a proper road trip.

  2. Mike said,
    July 16, 2013 @ 10:30 am

    The mall? Really? Shame about the bookstore. I guess we will read about the closure in the newspaper….I mean online, email, IMs, Facebook, tweets…..hard to believe that a bookstore would be closing :)

  3. Marta said,
    July 19, 2013 @ 12:06 pm

    What a fun city!! Didn’t have the chance to see the World’s biggest book store however…I will have to check it out next time!

  4. July 22, 2013 @ 4:06 am

    The bookstore looks like my version of heaven! One of the hardest things about living abroad (I’m in the middle of a 2-year contract in Mongolia right now) is not having bookstores that even come close to this :-( Shame that its days are numbered.

    • Traci Suppa said,
      July 23, 2013 @ 4:00 pm

      So many of them are closing, unfortunately, due to online sellers. But still, your amazing adventure is worth the hardship!

  5. July 28, 2013 @ 2:12 am

    It’s just sad knowing that establishment such as this are closing. Though I love the convenience of digital books, printed books remain to be my favorite.

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