Highway Book Shop-Northern Ontario's Unexpected TreasureAvailable as an EBook here.

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.

Lois and Douglas Pollard in the section containing many of the HBS Publications

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."

Lois Pollard

Go here for a peek at the Table of Contents
Go here for a look at the Index.
Go here for a list of the authors the HBS published over the years.
Go here for a list of the books that were published by HBS.

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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Available In Ebook Formats Here: $15.95

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Table of Contents




Table of Contents

Douglas' Early Journey

Family Roots

Military Service

Educational Activities

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

Advertising Strategies

Word Travels Fast

Highway Signs

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

Pathways College

Douglas and Lois - 1980 to 1986

A New Wedding Coach

The Wedding

Lois ~ Those First Days At The Book Shop

Boston Creek Reunion

Early Days

Working At Highway Book Shop

Public Transportation Has Been A Challenge


Latchford Legion Building

The Downtowner, Toronto

Lambda Properties


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

Pop Machine

Music in the Background


Coffee Shop

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