Highway Book Shop
~Northern Ontario's Unexpected Treasure
by Lois Pollard
In March 1981, The Toronto Star's Today Magazine asked its readers to nominate 100 praiseworthy things, the best in their category anywhere in Canada. Highway Book Shop was nominated as the Best Bookstore.
Other writers have noted that from its small beginning in job printing, Highway Book Shop became one of the largest independent book stores in Canada, and a tourist attraction in its own right. It is also credited as a promoter and preserver of local history and culture, and for this and other reasons, its founder and proprietor Dr. Douglas C. Pollard was awarded membership in the Order of Canada, October 23, 2008.
Unique in its character, with its policies grounded in service to the reading public, it attracted four generations of customers who returned year after year. This is the story from its beginnings told by Lois Pollard while the pieces of the story exist intact, undamaged by time.
The Tri-Town area comprises the City of Temiskaming Shores (formerly New Liskeard, Haileybury and Dymond Township) and Cobalt. Its location is approximately 150 kilometers or about 95 miles north of North Bay on Highway 11. Highway Book Shop has been referred to jokingly as bearing the address 300,000 Yonge Street, because if you follow Toronto's Yonge Street straight north you will eventually find yourself on Highway 11.
At 53 years of age, Highway Book Shop remained an independent business while larger chain stores have merged and changed ownership. Whether or not it is the "best" or the "largest" is not proven, but its importance to the Tri-Town area is attested by the enthusiasm of many customers who visited the store, in some cases the fourth generation in their family to do so.
The book includes an extensive Appendix which includes a series of the floor plans depicting how the Book Shop expanded over the years, a listing of the over 300 individual authors published by HBS over the years, and a listing of the 460+ book titles they published.
Many have asked how and why a small enterprise could have pursued its way steadily into the internet age, as though a strange phenomenon had occurred.
We present some of the answers in this history of an unexpected, unique book shop and publishing house in northern Ontario.
"... it is to be hoped that it shows the firm reality of something unusual which grew where one would not expect it, something useful, something honest, something that might refresh one's mind, something to which, once they have found it, people continue to return again and again, during all the years of its existence."
The watercolour on the cover was painted by Laura Landers.
ISBN:9781894747301 | WMPub#1033 | 8½" x 11" | 262 pages, trade paper 143 photos and 40 diagrams | $37.95
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Douglas' Early Journey
A Medical Set Back
A New Direction
Highway Book Shop Starts to Grow
Dieting, Publication, Education
The Making of a Book
The Real Costs of Publishing
Advertising and Promotion
Word Travels Fast
Increased Advertising Generates Results
Beyond the Scope of Advertising
Mail Order Begins
The Search Service
The Books Overflow
14 Lang Street, Cobalt
Expanding Community Commitment
Tourism and Recreation - Cobalt
Municipal Advisory Committee 1976-1977
Invitation From Canadian Smelting & Refinery Limited and Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Royal Commission on the Northern Environment
Cochrane-Timiskaming Travel Association - James Bay Frontier
1979 ~ A Year Of Mixed Emotions
A Family Tragedy
Life Goes On Despite The Grief
A Friend Is Important
Timiskaming Industrial Training Committee (TITC)
'Doc' Pollard Is Honoured
Douglas and Lois - 1980 to 1986
A New Wedding Coach
Lois ~ Those First Days At The Book Shop
Boston Creek Reunion
Working At Highway Book Shop
Public Transportation Has Been A Challenge
Latchford Legion Building
The Downtowner, Toronto
National Grocers Building, New Liskeard
TAHA: Temiskaming-Abitibi Heritage Association poem (abbreviated) by Dave McLaren
In Sickness and in Health
Turn of the Century
Fixing the Floor 2002
The Internet Building
What, Besides Books, Makes A Good Bookstore?
Sidelines and Ideas
Music in the Background
The Envisioned New Shop
The Art Community
Debunking The Legends
Order Of Canada
Where Seems To Be The End, There Will New Beginnings Be
Location Map for Highway Book Shop
Historical Diagrams ~ How Highway Book Shop Grew
Poem of the TAHA Workshop by Dave McLaren (full version)
Highway Book Shop Authors ~ an alphabetical listing by last name
Highway Book Shop Publications~as complete a list as we were able to compile, in order by Author's Last Name