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

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.


Local bookstores

Comic books

Antiquarian and used books

Campus book stores

Local writing clubs and events

Local publishers

Books about Ottawa

  • Lost Ottawa: Book One and Book Two: The unwritten history of the Nation’s Capital and a loving tribute to the power and beauty of everyday life.

  • 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.