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About Us

The University of Toronto Bookstore is a division of the University of Toronto Press.

Founded in 1901, University of Toronto Press (UTP) is Canada's leading academic publisher and one of the largest university presses in North America. A not-for-profit organization, the Press, while a separate organization from the University, has worked closely with U of T for over 110 years.

A SHORT HISTORY OF THE BOOKSTORE:

1987:

The University of Toronto Bookstore began life as the Students' Books Department when Miss McMicking, a staff member of the University library, was given permission to sell books to students when she was not on duty, and to store her stock in the basement of the library.

(We now sell to hundreds of thousands of customers each year, and our stock is now stored in several large warehouses across Toronto).

1910:

The Students' Book Department had grown considerably, with a letterhead which stated: "Importers of college text books and books of reference - Shipments received regularly from United States, England, France, Germany and Italy."

(We now source our books from over 30 countries all over the world).

1920:

The University of Toronto Press financed the construction of a new building in the southwest area of the campus, where the Galbraith Building is now located. The Students' Book Department occupied a large area of the ground floor of the building.

(We now occupy a large area of many floors of many buildings).

1934:

The University of Toronto Press purchased the Book Department and gave it the name "University of Toronto Press Book Department". Records show that entire staff of the Book Department consisted of four people.

(We now have over 150 people working across all the branches of the stores).

1946:

During the start of term, the space between the entrance and the counter was described as “a mass of struggling humanity".

(We leave to your discretion how much things have changed, but our survey results consistently show we maintain much shorter line wait times than the average college bookstore.)

1954:

The Book Department expanded its services in order "to operate a Bookstore in the interests in the University Community". These services included a "special order department that procures books from the four corners of the world", the retention of trained staff year-round, and an inventory of over 15,000 individual titles reflecting the varied courses at the University of Toronto.

(We now stock over twice that).

1958:

Our King's College location, 1958 — 1985.
Our King's College location, 1958 — 1985.

A new building was constructed on King's College Circle. The ground floor of this building was designed specifically for the Student's Book Department. The name of the store was changed to the University of Toronto Bookroom.

(Our name may have changed, but our commitment to quality and service to the University community remained as strong as it was when Miss McMicking started.)

1966:

A former dairy truck garage at 280 Huron Street was acquired for the Bookroom. Students could purchase texts (and computer products, as of 1984) from the Huron Street location. Trade books, medical books and stationery were available from the King's College Circle location.

(You can now purchase anything you'd like in any of our branches, as well as online).

The 60s and 70s:

Two new colleges were developed - one in Scarborough and one in Mississauga. Accordingly, the Scarborough College Bookstore (now The UTSC Bookstore) was opened in 1966 and the Erindale College Bookstore (Now the UTM Bookstore) in 1973.

(Both of these stores are now integral parts of the UTSC and UTM communities, serving thousands of customers and staff each year).

Scarborough College Bookstore, 1980s
Scarborough College Bookstore, 1980s

1985:

Both downtown locations were combined in what had originally been the Toronto Reference Library. Built in 1909 and purchased by the University in 1980, the building had been declared a historical site, boasting 30-foot ceilings, marble staircases and 1.5 miles of oak shelving.

The name was changed again to the University of Toronto Bookstore.

(This is the current name and home of our bookstore, one of the most beautiful in Canada.)

2008 — Present:

Toronto Library, 1909
Toronto Library, 1909
University of Toronto Bookstore, 2017
University of Toronto Bookstore, 2017

The University of Toronto Bookstore has been named Campus Bookseller of the Year five times by the Canadian Booksellers Association. We host book events over 200 times a year, and carry over 21,600 individual titles and 15,000 other items. This is a larger selection of academic and intellectually focused trade books than any other campus bookstore in Canada.