Stratford News

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.

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.

Shakespeare’s First Folio in Stratford


School of Athens by Raphael is a 1000 piece puzzle from Eurographics. It is available in store at the Book Vault in Stratford, Ontario.

The Stratford Festival is delighted to partner with the Stratford Perth Museum this season to present an unprecedented viewing of Shakespeare’s First Folio, made available by the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto, in celebration of the 450th anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare.

“The First Folio has been described as the most important work in the English language,” says Anita Gaffney, the Festival’s Executive Director. “We feel very fortunate to be able to offer our patrons, who are committed lovers of Shakespeare, an opportunity to view this treasured artifact during this year of celebration.”

Tickets are limited, so get yours soon. More information available at: The Stratford Perth Museum’s Website.

Savour Stratford is almost here!


Strawberries and Blueberries is a 500 piece puzzle from Springbok. It is available in store at The Book Vault in Stratford, Ontario.

Set in the heart of Stratford’s heritage garden district bordered by the Avon River and the Victorian downtown, the Savour Stratford Perth County Culinary Festival presented by GE Cafe Appliances moves from September to July 19th & 20th, 2014.

Every year, Ontario’s award-winning culinary festival welcome great guest culinary personalities, celebrates our local artisan producers and farmers and the outstanding Stratford chefs.

This year’s theme is Coast to Coast to Coast and the 30th Anniversary of the renowned Stratford Chefs School. Come meet some of the top young chefs under 40 from across Canada – from Newfoundland to the N.W.T. to B.C. – all award winners, many trained in Stratford and others associated with Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver and Anthony Bourdain.

With over 150 chefs, farmers, producers, Ontario wineries and craft brewers, cheese makers and culinary personalities, the Savour Stratford Perth County Culinary Festival is one of the largest culinary festivals in Ontario.

Come mingle among the farmer’s and artisan markets accompanied by free music concerts and surrounded by food stalls, special chef presentations and choose from over talks and tastings – choose from over 30 talks, tastings and sampling events – set in picturesque Stratford.

For more information, festival highlights, and tickets please visit the official website:
Savour Stratford

Garden Tour Sunday July 6, 2014


Photo taken by our resident Skrappy a couple of summers ago. She thinks her ma’s garden is as good as anything on the tour.

Presented by the Stratford and District Horticultural Society:

Eight distinctively different private gardens, event garden with refreshments, perennial challenge and Master Gardeners. Passes are sold for a special welcome to beautiful private gardens. Passes are available at Tom Eldon’s Landscaping and Garden Centre, Catherine Wright Designs, Sebringville Garden Centre, Cozyn’s Garden Gallery, and the day of the Garden Tour at Stratford City Hall from 9am to 1pm.

Details at the Ontario Horticultural Association’s website