25th Trillium Award

Collected Works Bookstore and Coffeebar

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Not too far from Ottawa’s downtown, cozied in the capital’s Parkdale neighbourhood, is Collected Works Bookstore and Coffeebar. It’s easily identifiable by the large, eye-catching sign, its books-on-cart sidewalk furniture and the hint of a fresh pot of coffee that hits the air when the door swings open.

It was May 5, 1997, when the store started. Hintonberg and Westboro neighbourhoods were growing and the need for a community-oriented bookstore was clear. There was a void to be filled.

The store stocks the best in Canadian, American and British books with a strong focus on literary fiction, poetry and children's books. It's also owned and operated by Christopher Smith and Craig Poile. Chris's experience as a bookseller goes all the way to 1984 and when he's not tying up loose business ends, he can be found with his fingers on the ivory keys of the store's piano. Craig is originally from New Brunswick and is an acclaimed poet and playwright.

The store hosts author readings, book clubs and writing workshops operated by local writers. In November, 2011, the “Turn a Page” gift card program - a two month initiative with community at its core - began. The objective was to help fund in-store renovations that literally turned the bookstore into a "collected work" in progress.

Collected Works also has a rewards program. It's simple. Just give them your name and phone number and you're signed up. "No card, no fee, no mailings," as the store's website describes.

How does it work? When a regular price purchase is made - from bookshelves or coffeebar - the store will ask for your phone number to call up your account. "Ten per cent of the value of your purchase is then credited to your account. When the credit on your account reaches $10.00 or more (i.e., after you spend $100 before taxes), you can use it against your next purchase at the store."

Ottawa poet rob mclennan wrote a wonderful profile on Collected Works that includes a Q&A with Christopher. You can read the article here.

The store is open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., on Saturday's from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Visit the store’s website for up-to-date information on events and new releases.

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Collected Works Bookstore and Coffeebar
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