Ottawa book guide: A list of libraries, independent bookstores, comic shops and more


Love. Art in front of the National Library of Canada on Wellington Street. Photo by Robyn Paton.

Love. Art in front of the National Library of Canada on Wellington Street. Photo by Robyn Paton.

Recognized as Canada’s most educated city, it’s no surprise that Ottawa has a vast array of libraries, research centres, independent bookstores and local authors. Whether you’re looking for a new thriller novel or are researching for a class paper, our Ottawa book guide is here to help.


Independent Book Stores

  • The New Octopus Bookstore (116 Third Ave, 233-2589)
  • Girol Spanish and Portuguese Books (closed the store but distributes online)
  • All Books (327 Rideau, 789-9544)
  • Bay Used Books (68-A Robertson Rd, 829-7157)
  • Crosstown Traffic (593-C Bank, 234-1210)
  • Birder’s Corner (101-2 Beechwood Ave, 741-0945)
  • Health Sciences Book Store (501 Smyth, 737-8847)

Comic Books

Antiquarian & Used Books

Campus Book Stores

Writing & Translation Services


Local Writers & Books

Writing & Literary events

Books about Ottawa

  • Ottawa: The Unknown City by Rob McLennan
    Ottawa may be our capital city but it’s also a place of contradictions—the official version offers numerous, beneficent historic sites, institutions, museums, and galleries, but there are other stories to be told. In this latest edition of Arsenal’s Unknown City series of alternativecity guides for both locals and tourists, Ottawa comes alive as a diverse, quirky town that may look like a government city on the surface but boasts a small-town charm. The book charts a course through the city’s hidden landmarks, shopping, dining, and nightlife hot spots, as well as secret histories that will come as a surprise even to life-long locals.
  • Secret Ottawa by Laura Byrne Paquet. Secret Ottawa reveals a side of the capital that most visitors-and many locals-never see. Find out where you can spot a blue heron at sunrise, eat Sri Lankan string hoppers, buy armour or angels, or work out at 3:00 a.m. From cycling to sundials, and waterfalls to wine, Secret Ottawa is your guide to the city’s hidden treasures.
  • Frommer’s® Ottawa by Louise Dearden. Covers everything Ottawa has to offer, including visual and performing arts, historic monuments, and world-class outdoor sports and recreation.
  • Capital Dining by Anne DesBrisay. Ottawa’s top restaurant critic and the author of the Citizen’s popular “Dining Out” column, Anne DesBrisay recommends over 150 restaurants in the National Capital Region. This is the second edition of Capital Dining—new and updated for 2008.
  • Capital Walks: Walking Tours of Ottawa by Katharine Fletcher.
  • Ottawa with Kids by James Hale. The complete family travel guide to attractions, sites and events in Ottawa.
  • The Lobster kids’ guide to exploring Ottawa-Hull by John Symon. Whether you’re a parent, an educator or a tourist, if you’re caring for children between the ages of 1-12, this book is the perfect answer. More than 100 suggestions for fun-filled family activities in the National Capital Region.
  • Frommer’s® Ottawa with Kids by Louise Dearden. Reveals the most fun and educational experiences for kids in Canada’s capital. It’s full of incredibly detailed tips – right down to which hotels offer cribs and rollaway beds and which restaurants offer high chairs.
  • The Hike It Bike It Walk It Drive It Guide: to Ottawa, the Gatineau, Kingston & Beyond by Ann Campbell. Features a variety of outdoor daytrips in Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec. Contains maps, directions, up-to-date info and contact phone numbers.
  • Ottawa: A colourguide by Carol Martin. Museums, festivals, Parliament Hill, accomodation, heritage sites, dining, recreation, shopping, galleries.

OttawaStart Staff


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