The Huntsville docks were underwater and the rain was coming down in sheets. Main Street, looking more like a river than a road, was mostly empty. Despite this, there was a lineup at the back of Cedar Canoe Books and a crowd inside.
Everyone in line was waiting to talk to Canadian explorer Kevin Callan, The Happy Camper. They were chatting about past adventures, a shared love of canoeing and picking up copies of Callan’s newest book, Top 70 Canoes Routes of Ontario. For many, this was an exciting day to meet a famous Canadian and a favourite author.
Inside Muskoka’s newest independent bookstore, Cedar Canoe Books, this felt like a normal day. In just the past month Cedar Canoe Books has had a string of famous Canadian authors come through including James Raffan and Timea Nagy. According to owner Chandler Jolliffe, they’re just getting started. “Our goal is to be more than just a store but a meaningful part of the community. One that provides new experiences and opportunities for residents and visitors alike,” said Jolliffe.
Cedar Canoe Books is working on being a new cultural center for the community. In addition to having authors in their store, they’ve also recently partnered with Rosseau Lake College, The Huntsville Public Library, and Algonquin Outfitters on various events. In addition, they run a book club that has had more than 30 people attending their once-a-month gathering
Saturday, April 29th, is Canadian Independent Bookstore Day, a day celebrated across the country to support local indie bookstores. Cedar Canoe Books will have seven different authors in-store during the day signing books and talking with customers. Some of the authors attending include Geoff Taylor, Brenda Missen, and Christina Kilbourne. They will also have prizes, giveaways, and a chance to win your entire purchase for free. “We’ve only been here five months and have felt such an incredible amount of love and support from the community, so we hope everyone will come to celebrate with us on Saturday,” said Jolliffe.
This isn’t the only upcoming event for Cedar Canoe Books. On Saturday, May 6th another famed Canadian author and explorer, Hap Wilson, will be in the store signing his newest book Temagami. On Thursday, May 11th at 7 pm they’ll also be hosting a book launch for renowned local historian and former MP Patrick Boyer’s newest book, Muskoka Heritage Nuggets. All of this, Jolliffe says, is part of their goal to create a gathering space for the community.
When entering Cedar Canoe Books you’re greeted by a warm atmosphere filled with beautiful wood shelves and tables, books in every direction, and comfortable chairs and couches. It’s easy to see how you could spend hours in the store. If getting into the store is a challenge for you, Jolliffe says they have you covered. You can shop online anytime at www.cedarcanoebooks.com and they even provide free shipping for all of Huntsville, Port Sydney, and Utterson with plans to expand free shipping to Bracebridge in the near future. “Our hope is to provide an alternative to those who want to shop local and get away from Amazon, while still giving them the convenience of easy online shopping”
You can find Cedar Canoe Books at 72 Main St East in downtown Huntsville, open 7 days a week.
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