[URBAN NOTE] “The fascinating history of Toronto’s oldest bookstore”
blogTO’s Phil Villeneuve shares the story of Toronto’s Glad Day Bookshop, the oldest GLBT library in the world still operating.
Very few book stores in the world have been fought off widespread hate, battled censorship at the Supreme Court, and acted as home base for an entire community of people. Toronto’s Glad Day bookshop has, which is why it’s even more special that it’s not only Toronto’s oldest bookstore, but the world’s oldest LGBT bookstore.
Glad Day took the title after New York’s Oscar Wilde bookstore closed in 2009 because of low sales and high rent. That shop opened in 1967.
Glad Day was opened in 1970 by Jearld Moldenhauer out of his home in the Annex. The residential space also doubled as the office for The Body Politic, a gay and lesbian political paper, which eventually morphed into Xtra and then to the now online-only DailyXtra.com.
After folks moved in and out of the home, Moldenhauer and a group men bought a place in Cabbagetown at 138 Seaton Street and operated the shop out of there.
It was a time when a gay and lesbian bookstore could exist out of someone’s living room and word spread wide enough for the city’s queer population to know exactly where to go — all very much on the down low and in fear of violence.