Journey to the West: Winnipeg
Coach House Books, along with other Toronto publishers, traveled out West to get to know our fellow Canadians a little better.
People told me I had to go McNally Robinson Booksellers while I was in Winnipeg, and when I got there I could see why. The place is huge! When it comes to independent stores, you might be used to small, messy shops with books piled high everywhere – but not McNally Robinson, that place is immaculate.
My first impression of the location was how well organized everything was. There's a section specifically for literary fiction. For me personally, that’s a huge plus because some days I'm looking for something more literary. When bookstores create that distinction, readers can really home in on what they want to read. And, boy, does it seem as though Winnipeggers love to read. I couldn't believe how many people were walking around the store holding giant stacks of books. In my mind, I came up with a ton of reasons for why so many people were reading. Perhaps they were all hired by McNally Robinson to carry stacks of books around to convince others that reading is cool. Or perhaps Winnipeg is the first intergalactic stop for most E.T.’s so they pick up a bunch of books to learn about earth and pass the time. All very valid reasons, I’d say, but that’s when I saw the board.
The community is a huge part of what makes McNally Robinson a success. Just look at the number of classes they run, all featuring different topics and disciplines. McNally Robinson is a hub of arts and culture in Winnipeg with their classes, author readings, and musical performances. What’s that? Oh yeah, they feature musicians in their stores, too!! No matter what part of culture you enjoy McNally Robinson has something for everyone.
Overall, it’s easy to see why McNally Robinson is a must-see store in Winnipeg. It’s clean, friendly, and culturally relevant. It’s a store that supports local community and culture with an earnest excitement about development. This is most evident on their Prairie Writers shelf, a spot dedicated to writers of all levels from the Prairies, from self-published works to best sellers.
If you ever find yourself out in Winnipeg looking for a good book, McNally Robinson Booksellers has you covered. Be sure to check out a Coach House Book while you’re there.
Music Note: I’m always interested in the kind of music a store plays over their speakers. It says so much about the vibe they’re going for in the store. When I walked into McNally Robinson, I was hit by an intense piece by Shostakovich, which you can find below. It’s definitely unconventional, but I was way into it. It really helped me pick out some dramatic books.