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A good book is a window into another world. Whether a flight of fantasy, a gripping thriller, or a biography of a fascinating historical figure, getting lost in a compelling page turner is still the best way to send your mind on a vivid vacation. So it’s fortunate that from boutique to brand, collectable to consignment, Victoria is known for its bookstore scene. And of course, since the only real way to find your next on-page adventure is to hold it in your hands, you’ll want to drop by one of the best book stores in Victoria, BC to indulge your inner bibliophile. 

Munro’s Books

Munro’s has been feeding literature to Victoria’s hungry minds for more than five decades. In that time, it’s grown from a narrow, alley-like space to its current palatial gigs in a neo-classical building originally designed as a turn of the century bank. Impressively, Munro’s doesn’t just sell books — late founder Jim Munro’s wife, the famed short-story author Alice Munro — also happens to have won the nobel prize for literature in 2013.    

1108 Government Street, Victoria, BC V8W 1Y2

Russell Books

Russell Books is also a treasured tomery in the tradition of long-running, family-owned Canadian bookstores. From its humble beginnings as a closet-sized used paperback exchange in 1961 to its current space in a cavernous 18,000 square foot space housing more than one million individual volumes, Russell has more than earned its place as one of the city’s most beloved booksellers. The store regularly holds community events as well, so be sure to stop in for an author reading, signing, or seminar.   

100-747 Fort Street, Victoria, BC V8W 3E9

Bolen Books

Since first opening its doors in 1975, Bolen has continued to grow, moving four times in its nearly fifty years serving the community. It’s currently the largest single-location independent bookstore in western Canada, and features a wide selection of genres — everything from novels, to cookbooks, to kids’ books, travelogues, reference books, and even puzzles, board games and gifts. Shoppers are truly spoiled for choice at Bolen. 

1644 Hillside Ave #111, Victoria, BC V8T 2C5

Sorensen Books

Sorensen Books is something of a unique anomaly — at once equal parts bookseller, art gallery, and curiosity shoppe. Proprietress Cathy Sorenson has a special interest in history, creativity and the offbeat, which is reflected in her inventory. Stopping into Sorensen is akin to falling down a rabbit hole of the unexpected. You may arrive looking for the rare book you ultimately find, but you may also leave with collectible postcards, some fascinating vintage photographs, or other assorted oddities. It’s never the same store twice. 

1029 View St #102, Victoria, BC V8V 0C9

James Bay Coffee & Books

If there’s anything better than curling up with a good book and a cozy cup of coffee, humanity doesn’t seem to have discovered it quite yet. Thankfully, James Bay Coffee & Books understands this, and offers delicious brewed awakenings in tandem with tasty reads. The helpful staff here is always happy to suggest something they think you may enjoy based on what you’re currently engrossed in from within their deep well of engaging genres.    

143 Menzies St, Victoria, BC V8V 2G4, Canada

Chronicles of Crime

There’s just something special about a mind-bending mystery. From Sherlock Holmes, to Miss Marple, to Hercule Poirot, Sam Spade or Philip Marlowe, a big part of the fun of these nifty novels is trying to unravel the puzzle right along with the detectives on the page. Chronicles of Crime understands this undeniable appeal, and focuses exclusively on the exploits of the literature world’s sleuths, gumshoes and private eyes. Dive in.    

Unit 103-1029 View Street, Victoria, BC V8V 4V6