The Library of Parliament was established in 1876 and provides research and historical information to parliamentarians. It’s the only part of Centre Block that survived the devastating fire of 1916 thanks to the large iron doors separating it from the rest of the building. (Photo by Leonard747 via the OttawaStart Flickr pool)
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.
Please let us know of any errors or omissions in the comments below.
- See also: Friends of Library and Archives Canada
Bytown Bookshop (21 Arlington Ave., 613-233-2715)
Mill Street Books (52 Mill St., Almonte)
Octopus Books (116 Third Ave.)
Perfect Books (258A Elgin)
Polish Bookstore in Ottawa (7986 Parkway Rd.)
Prospero The Book Company (128 Bank St., 613-238-7683)
Black Squirrel Book and Espresso Bar (1073 Bank St.)
Salem Storehouse (1558 Merivale Rd.)
Girol Spanish and Portuguese Books (closed the store but distributes online)
All Books (327 Rideau, 613-789-9544)
Bay Used Books (68-A Robertson Rd, 613-829-7157)
Birder’s Corner (101-2 Beechwood Ave, 613-741-0945)
Myths Legends & Heroes (200-256 Bank St.)
Comet Comics (1073 Bank St.)
Cave Comics (2446 Bank St., 613-739-7831
The Comic Book Shoppe (1400 Clyde, 228 Bank)
The Wizard’s Tower (3350 Fallowfield)
Antiquarian and used books
Book Market (1980 Robertson, 1534 Merivale)
Patrick McGahern Books (11 Murray St.)
Campus book stores
Agora Bookstore (uOttawa student bookstore, 145 Besserer)
Local writing clubs and events
Capital Crime Writers (Capital Crime Writers has over seventy members who meet on the second Wednesday of each month, holding workshops and inviting guest speakers. Over the years there have been forensic pathologists, lawyers, police officers, private investigators, script writers, editors – the list goes on.
Writers' Festival (“Ottawa’s festival of ideas since 1997”)
Books about Ottawa
Don’t Back Down: The Real Story Behind the Founding of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators by Bruce M. Firestone: The original owner of the current Ottawa Senators tells the inside story behind the team’s creation in the 1990s.
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 book, 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.
Ottawa Cooks: Signature Recipes from the Finest Chefs of Canada’s Capital Region by Anne DesBrisay: Ottawa’s top restaurant critic and formerly the author of the Citizen’s popular “Dining Out” column, Anne DesBrisay brings together recipes from forty-one of the Capital Region’s most inspiring cooks. From fine restaurants, food trucks and farmhouse kitchens, here are signature dishes, favourite staff meals and traditional family recipes that assert what people in Ottawa already know: for more than twenty years, this capital has been quietly and steadily growing one of the most interesting and diverse food cultures in the country.
Capital Walks: Walking Tours of Ottawa by Katharine Fletcher: This guidebook invites readers to explore – on foot – the history, heartbeat, and character of Canada’s capital.
For more books about Ottawa, check out some of the local bookstores listed in this article – many have sections dedicated to local authors.