[Robert J. Sawyer] Science Fiction Writer
Hugo and Nebula Winner

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Press Release
For Release Wednesday, April 1, 1998

New Home for Specialty Bookstore

Writers and Customers Turn Out to Help With the Move

Bakka, the world's oldest science-fiction specialty bookstore, moved yesterday to a new location in Toronto — aided by a team of writers, readers, and other booksellers.

Bakka: The Science Fiction Bookstore, formerly at 282 Queen Street West, is now located at 598 Yonge Street, one-half block north of Wellesley Street (and just south of Yonge and Bloor, Canada's busiest intersection). This is the first move in the store's twenty-six-year history.

[John Rose] The new shop boasts an improved ambience, better lighting, and a location more convenient for subway travelers. "In addition," says Bakka owner John Rose, "university students comprise a large segment of the science-fiction and fantasy readership. I'm deliberately poised here between the University of Toronto to the west and Ryerson Polytechnic University to the east."

When Bakka first opened on Queen Street West in 1972, the area was a mecca for book lovers, with a dozen specialty, used, and antiquarian bookstores. But most of the other bookshops have closed or moved over the last decade, making visiting Bakka a special trip for much of its clientele. The new location on Yonge is close to several other booksellers; indeed, upstairs from Bakka's new site is Glad Day, Toronto's venerable gay-and-lesbian bookstore.

Bakka has long been known as a crucible for launching writing careers. Many of its past and present staff members have gone on to become established authors, and all of them turned up to help out with the move, including:

  • Tanya Huff, who managed the store from 1985 to 1992, and is the bestselling author of the Vickie Henry series of vampire-detective novels set in Canada and published by New York's DAW Books.

  • Michelle Sagara West, whose fantasy novels are published by Del Rey under her maiden name of Michelle Sagara and DAW under her married name of Michelle West; Michelle has worked at Bakka since 1986, and has been manager since 1992.

  • Robert J. Sawyer, whose The Terminal Experiment won the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America's Nebula Award for Best Novel of the Year; Rob worked at Bakka in 1982.

The move came off without a hitch, and the store missed only one day of business. "Given that we had to move on a weekday, we were amazed by the turnout of volunteers to help," said Rose. "We actually had customers take a day off work just to give us a hand."

Bakka specializes in science fiction, fantasy, and horror, and has always made a point of vigorously promoting Canadian authors. The store offers an international mail-order service and serves many library systems. Bakka frequently hosts author signings, book-launch parties, and other special events. In addition, Space: The Imagination Station (Canada's SF specialty cable channel) often films author interviews and other segments at Bakka.

John Rose, 46, the owner of Bakka since 1980, has long been involved in the Canadian book trade, starting at the Robert Simpson Company in 1974. In 1991, he chaired the Canadian Booksellers Association's annual convention and trade show.

Interviews Available:

John Rose, Owner
Bakka: The Science Fiction Book Store
598 Yonge Street
Toronto, Ontario M4Y 1Z3
(416) 963-9993

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