Where We Come From
Munro's Books now occupies a landmark location in the heart of Victoria's Old Town, but its origins are much more modest. In 1963, Jim Munro and his first wife, Alice - yes, that Alice Munro - set up shop in a long, narrow space on Yates Street, near Victoria's movie theatres. The store's stock consisted almost entirely of paperbacks, at a time when many traditional booksellers considered anything other than hardback books to be beyond the pale, bordering on beneath contempt.
Actually, bookstores were few and far between in Victoria; Jim Munro's main competition in those days came from the book departments of The Bay and Eaton's. But the location was convenient for younger, movie-going customers, and the staff's interest in new trends in writing and other art forms built a loyal clientele.
The store relocated to larger premises on Fort Street in 1979 and then to its current location in 1984.
The Mucha prints and psychedelic posters are long gone, but Munro's is still Victoria's prime source for the latest trends in writing.
Who We Are
We have a friendly and knowledgeable staff to provide you with the high quality of service you deserve. This dedication has resulted in a loyal clientele locally and has also won us many customers all over the world, long before the advent of the Internet. Please read our Store Policies.
Where We Are Now
Our fine neo-classical building was designed, for the Royal Bank of Canada, in 1909 by Thomas Hooper, the architect of many of B.C.'s finest commercial and public buildings.
The beautiful coffered 24ft. ceiling closely resembles the ceiling of the porch of the great library of Ephesus built by the Romans in ancient times.
When we bought the building, which had been tastelessly modernized in the 1950's, we set to work restoring it to its former glory. In the space of only 8 weeks, we had it refurbished and ready for business. The building has since received two heritage awards.
Part of our refurbishment of the building was the commissioning and hanging of eight large fabric banners by Carole Sabiston depicting The Four Seasons. These were added to a collection of her other fabric works inspired by ten classic works of literature, which used to hang in our previous locations. We have since added three more of her works, which we have also reproduced as bookmarks.
Carole constructs large scale wall hangings, theatre sets and costumes. Her architectural commissions can be seen in Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria, and have been sold in the UK and the USA. Her textile assemblages employ hand and machine stitching, using techniques which are unique and non-traditional. In 1987 she was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (R.C.A.) and also received the prestigious Saidye Bronfman Award for excellence in the arts. In 1992 she received the Order of British Columbia.
Munro's Staff 2013