Hello blog readers! It’s Miriam again and I have once again pushed David aside to share with you my SQM Pick!
I am so happy that summer is here. Not because I am going anywhere or doing much of anything….the pandemic saw to that. Since we are spending lots of time at home, I am, however, enjoying the effort that David and I have put into our backyard – new cushions for the outdoor furniture, new string lights, a bonfire pit and a hammock that my 14-year-old daughter loves to lie in and read under the shade of a tree.
While my girl loves to read – she doesn’t do it very often. During the school year, homework becomes a priority, guitar lessons take over and playing competitive soccer three to four times a week, doesn’t leave a lot of downtime for pleasure reading. With overnight camp closed for the summer of 2020, she has rediscovered her love of reading, with the help of a little store and a little tale that goes back 14 years to the small town of Bracebridge, Ontario.
We are one of the lucky ones, as my parents have a cottage in northern Ontario. Every year, since Talia was a baby, we would go up on summer weekends and would inevitably end up walking around town. It is there that we discovered the Owl Pen Bookshop, a used bookstore with all the charm that you would expect in cottage country. Talia was always allowed to go in and choose herself a book and it became part of her cottage ritual. Even when David and I didn’t go up with her and she went with my parents and her cousins, a trip to the Owl Pen was always worked in. Fast forward to present day and the love affair with this bookstore has found renewed life in a pandemic era, where summer camp has to wait until next year and cell service at the cottage is seriously spotty.
It began a few weeks ago, when my parents were heading up north and we were still not “bubbling” with them yet. Talia asked me if we could call Owl Pen and find out if they had books that she wanted and then maybe “my grandparents could do a curbside pick up for me”. I called the store and Katherine (she and her husband took over the family store from her in-laws) answered the phone. I explained that I was from Toronto and my daughter was a huge fan of her store. I gave her a list of books that Talia wanted, she went to the shelf, pulled them all down for me, took an e-transfer payment, wrapped them up and brought them out to my mom when she pulled in front of the store. Since then, Katherine has kept her eyes out for books that are on Talia’s list, puts them aside and even suggested reading that she thought Talia would enjoy. When we head up north, our first stop is always the Owl Pen to pick up my daughters curated reading material.
Yes, we could easily order these books online, but Talia, at 14 years of age, still loves the thrill of going to her favorite bookstore. And I happily plunk down all the cash necessary to support her love of reading…and a small family business that provides outstanding customer service.
The Owl Pen Bookshop
58 Manitoba Street, Bracebridge, Ontario
Ask for Katherine and remember: they only accept cash and e-transfer.