The sign on the building simply says Books and Fine Prints. Don’t let the dilapidated exterior fool you – Lakefield Station Bookshop is not merely a store, it is an experience not to be missed. Both the restoration of the building and the book collection itself are labours of love.
The building’s interior, with its arched windows and B.C. Douglas fir paneling, has been lovingly restored by David Glover, part historian, part librarian. The building had been neglected when he bought it 15 years ago and improvements continue to be a work in progress. Glover, a former history teacher from Australia, immigrated here after meeting his wife, a native of the Lakefield area. She is a framer and the expert on prints that dot the walls and lie in folios in slender drawers – you might recognize a building you know in the collections of historical photos of our area; here also are beautiful hand tinted lithographs, period advertising posters, and framed illustration plates from books otherwise unsalvageable.
With the demise of our downtown indie bookstore Titles, and the collapse of the publishing industry in general, it is becoming a rarity to find a bookstore still in business, but you won’t find piles of dusty flea market volumes here. This is a delightfully curated floor-to-ceiling collection which completely fills the old train station in Lakefield. Glover admits there is a fine line between obsession and his passion for books – he has enough additional books in storage to nearly fill another store.
The store is only open in the summer and usually until Christmas. Don’t expect to find a website or online shopping – there is none. David Glover is old school and you must have a hands on encounter with all these beautiful books. I asked if he kept a catalogue of his collection, and well, no, not really, it’s mostly in his head. But inside every book, its price and publishing information is carefully inscribed in pencil by hand.
You will find a good dose of nostalgia here. “People have started crying,” Glover says, when they find a copy of a treasured book from their childhood. When I mention that my own rather obscure literary Achilles heel is the design of books on hunting, trapping and outdoorsmanship in the early 20th century with their rounded fonts, human scale and lovely illustration plates, Glover deftly pulls from the shelf a book of that genre by Ernest Thompson Seton, a naturalist who was a resident of Lakefield at one time.
Looking for a signed volume of Leonard Cohen poems, a first edition of John Lennon’s A Spaniard in the Works, Chats on Old Miniatures – A Practical Guide for the Collector by J.J. Foster, or the collected works of Balzac in 18 volumes? You’ll find it here. How about a coffee table book of Currier and Ives’ America, Audells Oil Burning Guide, The Case of the Howling Dog by Earle Stanley Gardner, or the Dictionary of Newfoundland English by Story, Kirwin and Widdowson? No problem.
Do yourself a favour and set aside some time to browse and take home a treasure from this extraordinary collection of literary riches, and promise you won’t try to fit it in between the dentist and picking the kids up from day camp. Indulge in the singular pleasure of getting lost in books, in a store chock full of books worth getting lost in. Bet you find one that makes you say “I remember this one from when I was a kid.”
Lakefield Station Bookshop
David Glover, Proprietor
7 Stanley St., Lakefield, Ontario K0L 2H0
dgloverbooks (at) nexicom.net