So it goes …

Thanks to all from Ellen, Marg, photo of Lisa, Teresa & Paul.


The Book Vault Inc. – We are history!


In the beginning…

The Book Vault Inc. was established in 1986 by Al Coleman, in the basement of the Festival Square Mall at 10 Downie Street. To start with, The Book Vault Inc. was a comic shop with used books.


Paul Strathdee bought in as a 50/50 partner in 1989 and in 1991, the two business partners decided to move the store to this bright and busy location on Ontario Street. At this time, they also decided to upgrade to new books, comics and graphic novels.


In 1992, Al decided to sell his share of the business, and Lisa Kane bought in and became Paul’s new business partner (Lisa was also Paul’s niece). The Book Vault was now a family business.


A family business…

Lisa especially enjoyed serving customers at the counter, working on book orders and tracking down special orders for people. The Book Vault Inc. was Lisa’s pride and joy and she was looking forward to the plan of buying out Paul and taking over complete ownership of the business herself, in the not-too-distant future.


However, tragedy struck in 2009 when Lisa, at the age of 35, suddenly and unexpectedly died of a blood infection. We were devastated, and the future of the book store at that time was completely unknown.

Day by day, the store remained open, operating without Lisa – and here we are five years later.



In order to survive the “hostile” retail environment, our anti-social owner adopted an alter ego on facebook. THE HULK took up residence as the Book Vault’s new front man. The locals are familiar with Paul’s grumpiness and “ill health”, while the tourists are alternately amused, confused or disturbed.



The end…

In the fall of 2013, we received news from our landlord that they needed to expand their offices into this location.


Moving to another location did not seem feasible considering the time, energy, trouble and expense it would take to relocate a business in a faltering industry. Everyone is aware of the effect of online sales and e-books on independent booksellers.


When we weighed all these factors, our direction was clear – we decided to quietly start liquidating our inventory and wind down the business. Nothing lasts forever, and it was time for us to move on. Retirement was calling after 28 years. Yay!



The Book Vault Inc.

1986 – 2014

End of an era!


You can continue to follow “THE HULK” on

The Book Vault Inc. facebook page.


You can reach us through our website at



A sincere thank you to our dedicated local customers and our out of town visitors for your decades of support!


What’s Next for Us?


Paul is going to lie on a hammock in the back yard for the next 40 years (yeah, right LOL)


Teresa hopes to do some travelling and take some courses.


Marg has retired before… we’ll see if it sticks this time… what with the gardening, grandchildren, cooking, canoeing, hiking, and reading….


Ellen plans on riding some horses, riding her bike, continuing her photography (focusing on affordable rates for weddings). You can find her on Facebook at Ellen Kelly Photography. She also wants to start an Etsy store for her creative work (art and jewelry), and moving her career along until she, too, can afford to retire.




Closing Permanently Sunday, August 17, 2014.



Retirement Beckons!  After 28 years, The Book Vault Inc. is closing its doors for the last time.

Yep, closing permanently.  The owners and employees are ready for a change – the time is right to wrap it up!

Three cheers for almost 3 decades – a good run – hip hip hooray!

To our dedicated customers, thank you for supporting our local independent business.

You helped us:

  • provide up to 6 jobs each year

  • pay business taxes locally

  • donate to local charities

  • support other local businesses

  • draw shoppers from across Southern Ontario to beautiful Stratford

  • add to the liveliness and vitality of our community

To our regular and occasional customers alike, many thanks for 28 years of support!

The Book Vault Inc. 1986 – 2014. The end.
PS. The HULK will continue to entertain and/or harass willing victims on The Book Vault Inc. facebook page. See you there!

Attention Jigsaw Puzzle Lovers – the puzzles have moved!

"Under New Ownership" is a 500 piece puzzle by Cobble Hill.

“Under New Ownership” is a 500 piece puzzle by Cobble Hill.


Our 1000+ beloved jigsaw puzzles have found a new home in Stratford!

Their new location is:

Video Plus Books

714 Ontario Street, Stratford (near Swiss Chalet)


or visit the VPB website at:

Thanks to our friends at VPB for giving the puzzles a new home!


TED cafe at The Local Community Food Centre


Barcelona Market is a 1000 piece puzzle from Cobble Hill. It is available in store at the Book Vault in Stratford, Ontario.


Michael Norton shares fascinating research on how money can indeed buy happiness – when you don’t spend it on yourself. Listen for surprising data on the many ways pro-social spending can benefit you, your work, and (of course) other people.

The discussion will be facilitated by Shannon Stewart, the owner of Covet – The Community Closet (thrift/consignment shop)

The event takes place Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 7pm. It will be held at The Local Community Food Centre, located at 612 Erie Street in Stratford.

Survey: Book Buyers Leaving Amazon Because of Hachette Dispute


The Scream by Edvard Munch is a 1000 piece puzzle from Eurographics. It is available in store at The Book Vault in Stratford, Ontario.

By Jeremy Greenfield – July 22, 2014

Some book buyers may be leaving Amazon for Barnes & Noble, independent bookstores and the likes of Costco because the large e-tailer’s dispute with publisher Hachette, according to new survey data.

Read the full article on

Fun in the sun at official opening of Stratford’s splash pad


The Swimming Hole is a 500 piece puzzle by Cobble Hill. It is available in store at The Book Vault Inc. in Stratford, Ontario.

By Mike Beitz, The Beacon Herald – Saturday, July 12, 2014

Partway through the speeches at the grand opening of Stratford’s new splash pad at Anne Hathaway Park Friday, someone inadvertently triggered a hidden sensor that turns on the water.

Jets briefly squirted, sprayed, dripped and splashed the unsuspecting adults gathered in the middle of the concrete pad, sending them scurrying.

The crowds of children gathered around the edges, waiting eagerly but patiently for their turn to play, giggled.

“Well, it works,” said splash pad committee chair Mike Doupe with a smile.

Read the full article on The Stratford Beacon Herald’s website

HMS Razzamajazz back on Avon River for weekly music performances


Dragon Voyage is a 180 piece children’s puzzle from Cobble Hill. It is available in store at The Book Vault in Stratford, Ontario.

By Scott Wishart, Stratford Beacon Herald – Saturday, July 12, 2014

A popular riverside attraction is back on the water for the rest of the summer.

With the help of some deft manoeuvring of a trailer by Public Works employee Mark Zylstra, HMS Razzamajazz eased into the waters of the Avon River Friday to the applause of passersby and volunteers from the Stratford Power and Sail Squadron.

The 24-by-10-foot barge, properly known as a pontoon boat, will be a floating concert stage for weekly musical performances along the shoreline for at least the next two months.

Read the rest of the article on The Stratford Beacon Herald’s website.

Stratford is a BOOK LOVER’S destination


The Book Vault Inc., Stratford, Ontario

The Book Vault Inc., Stratford, Ontario


 Yes,  Stratford has  9  different book stores, each with a unique focus:


  • BOOK VAULT – 131 Ontario Street, Stratford  – That’s us!  New Books, Remainders, & lots of Jigsaw Puzzles
  • Book Stage – 126 Waterloo Street, South – fine used books,  music CDs
  • Coles – 1067 Ontario Street – okay, not an independent, but still a great shop
  • Fanfare Books – 92 Ontario Street – large selection of new books
  • Fundamentals Books and Toys -  52 Ontario Street – new books & toys for kids from tots to teens
  • Gospel Lighthouse – 36 Ontario Street – Christian books, CDs, & DVDs
  • Stratford Festival Theatre Store – Shakespearean, theatre, and literary related books & DVDs
  • Video Plus Books & CDs – 714 Ontario Street — DVD & game sales & rentals, CDs, model kits & used books
  • Wee Book & Photo Shop – 15 York Street – portrait photography, vintage clothing, hats & books
  • Yesterday’s Things & Books – 351 Ontario Street – used books and antiques

The Stratford Public Library is an historic Carnegie Public Library – 19 St. Andrew Street – where you can relax & read, surf the Internet, & use Wi-Fi (public washroom available).

WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON IN STRATFORD?  And what else is there to see and do?

The Visit Stratford website has lots of information for you – places to visit, dine, stay, shop and relax.


 Knitter's Delight - 1000 Piece


We are striving to become the BIGGEST retailer of jigsaw puzzles in Southwestern Ontario. Currently, we carry OVER  1200  DIFFERENT PUZZLES with new puzzles arriving every month! We have recently added a large selection of Ravensburger puzzles to our line of top quality puzzles.

Jigsaw puzzles are a great social / family activity or gift! Come and check us out!

Our puzzles range from 10 piece tray puzzles to 3000 piece challenges.  Themes for puzzles include Kids (tray, floor & table puzzles), “Create Your Own” and Colouring puzzles, Fanciful Food, Collage, Landscapes, Nature (animals, birds, wildlife), Hobby & Craft, Transportation, Fable & Fantasy, Fine Art (Classic and Canadian), Coca Cola, Religious, Educational, Seasonal, Christmas, Easy Handling (larger pieces), 36 piece Alzheimer puzzles, and the ever popular Family puzzles (various piece size). For anyone looking for an extra challenge, we also carry a good selection of brainteasing WASGIJ puzzles – you have to use your imagination to solve the puzzle from the hints you get from the image on the box!

Below is a list of our favourite puzzle companies, and we stock a large selection of puzzles from each company. The inventory for each company can be found by clicking on the links listed below.  And if we don’t have it in stock, we can certainly order it for you on our next shipment!

Please note that the prices listed on the external websites do not apply – call us for price details.



No mail orders … In-store sales only


Note: If you are not able to visit our store, but would like to order puzzles by mail, we recommend you try placing your orders directly with the manufacturers – just use the links listed above. Details for setting up your own account can be found on their websites. Happy online shopping!


New Books and New Books Only …

Inside The Book Vault Inc. in Stratford, Ontario.




BOOK VAULT  -  As a privately owned independent business, we are able to select and sell books that are, perhaps, not the usual offering that you would find in other book stores.

          We have a variety of new books including:
        • New Releases – new titles, often receiving publicity
        • Best Sellers – our shop’s best sellers, as well as the nationally-listed  best sellers.  These two lists can be very different!
        • Publisher Clearance Sale Books – these are new books purchased from publishers as their overstock – also referred to as “Remainders”.


A note about “Remainders” – because they are clearance books, quantities are usually limited, and they cannot be reordered.  When we’re sold out, that’s the end of that title for us at clearance pricing!  Our selection of “sale books” is constantly changing, and there is no inventory of our books on this website.  The old adage applies – “He who hesitates, is lost”.


Our specialties are HISTORY, FICTION, and COOKBOOKS.  We have a very comprehensive TRAVEL GUIDE section as well.


We invite you to drop in and look around – you might be surprised!

No mail orders … In-store sales only