When previous Glad Day owner John Scythes warned of the store’s dire financial situation in early 2012, Toronto’s gay community prepared to lose another landmark business.
Luckily for local teacher and activist Michael Erickson, who, along with 21 other community members, purchased the iconic Yonge Street bookshop one year ago, the opportunity to buy the store was a dream waiting to happen. “When we did the call-out for who’d be interested, I think a lot of the owners had always secretly wished that one day they could own a bookstore,” Erickson says. “I think a lot of us fantasized about this.”
Following the closure of New York City’s Oscar Wilde Bookshop in 2009, Glad Day became the world’s oldest queer bookstore, Erickson says. “We spent the past year focusing on sustainability of the store, which I think we’ve done a good job at, but in order for us to survive we have to move to build.”
The next step, he says, is turning Glad Day into an online brand. “We would like to create our own platform to sell books on,” he says. “It would also have a space to list our events coming up. We have some ideas for a community memory project we’d like to post and house on there as well. We also have a book review blog in the works.
“Ideally, it’s the sort of site where people could go on a regular basis, get reviews on books, get connected with the past and hopefully even propose visions and ideas for the future for our community. And buy books.”
To this end, Glad Day owners have started a crowd-funding campaign to raise money for the site, and they’ll be offering some incredible, queerly Canadian perks. “For example, if someone gives $600 for this project, we have artists like Syrus Marcus Ware, Suzy Malik, Allyson Mitchell, Peter Kingstone, Eric Kostiuk Williams, who will create a customized art piece for someone who donates.”
While 2012 was a year of sustainability that Glad Day owners will celebrate with the community on April 20, “thinking about ourselves globally is a goal for the next year,” Erickson says.
To donate to Glad Day, go to indiegogo.com/projects/help-glad-day-bookshop-stay-indie-go-global.
Glad Day Bookshop’s first anniversary
Sat, April 20
Glad Day Bookshop
598A Yonge St