Aqua Books Announces New Location for Expanded Store and Bistro
The wait is over.
As the Winnipeg Free Press reported on December 5, 2007, Aqua Books has a new location.
And here it is:
After a search of many months, we are pleased to announce that Aqua Books has a deal finalized on our new location. Beginning in April 2008, Aqua Books will be located at 274 Garry Street between Portage and Graham, just a few blocks from our current space. (We will be open here until then.) This 8400 square foot, two-storey building is an undeclared gem in the heart of downtown, currently occupied by Kam Kong Restaurant (which has been in abatement for some time). Aqua Books will be joined by (what will certainly be) Downtown Winnipeg's hottest new eatery, (the aptly named) EAT! bistro. Chef Candace Hughes will use her varied experience from Fusion Grill, Bergmann's on Lombard, and De Luca's Cooking School to create some of the most inspired food in town. (More details on EAT! in the coming weeks. I can't spill everything at once, can I?)
In addition to the addition of EAT! bistro, Aqua Books will be doubling its shelf space to accommodate up to 40,000 books (more than McNally has in their lame-duck Portage Place store, and more than the 25,000 that Morley Walker stated in the Freep). The bookstore and the bistro will be located on the exciting (and of course, wheelchair-accessible) main floor. What's on the second floor Kelly? Glad you asked. The 4200 square foot second floor will contain a 1200 square foot events room (almost the size of our entire store on Princess). ideaExchange, Free Your Mind, and the Stone Soup Storytellers will be joined by several new series, including the Aqua Books Lansdowne Prize for Poetry Reading Series. (Say that five times fast. Make it rhyme too and you're a slam poet.) We have already hired an events coordinator to organize all the exciting events that will be happening at this happening venue. (The use for the rest of the second floor will be announced later.)
274 Garry Street is within 300 metres of MTS Centre, the Radisson, the Post Office, the Millennium Library, CityPlace, Winnipeg Square, the Walker Theatre, the Fairmont Hotel, and Winnipeg's Financial Core, Portage and Main. (Don't dismay that we've moved a little closer to the Financial Core. In order to keep your books affordable, we're going to have to put the screws to some Suits for their lunch money.) We're just outside of The Exchange, but still only four blocks from Old Market Square.
Indeed, there is something for everyone here. Location is central, and surrounding surface parking is abundant. For people that can't figure out downtown parking, we have five parking spots. For people that hate cars, there will be a proper bike rack. For people that hate books, there will be food. For people that hate food, there will be coffee. For people that hate me....well, they can bloody well stay home.
The People wanted us to stay downtown, and we, as always, listened to The People. With McNally Robinson's retreat from the downtown happening at the beginning of April, Aqua/EAT! will be uniquely situated to fill that void (and then some, if I may say so). The last time we moved, the bill was about $10,000. This time, the price tag will be pushing half a million dollars after renos. This time, I decided to put my (bank's) money where my mouth is. My goal is to turn Aqua Books into Winnipeg's Cultural City Hall. (And I'm Mayor McCheese.) Or think of us as the P-trap for the Brain Drain.
So, stay tuned to AquaBooks.ca and This Week at Aqua Books for further developments, including the menu for EAT!, our new hours, details on our Writer-in-Residence program, and the Renovation Vidlog. (The Renovation Vidlog will be weekly video of me yelling at contractors, tearing out walls, buying drywall screws at Pollock Hardware, and nearly being crushed by Civic Bureaucracy, only to rise triumphant in the end. Gripping stuff.)
Click here for the Dec 5, 2007 Winnipeg Free Press article on The Big Move.
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