New cycling club in Stratford set to hit the road


Bicycle in France is a 1000 piece puzzle from Clementoni. It is available at the Book Vault.

By Mike Beitz, The Beacon Herald

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 10:02:42 EDT AM

Local cyclists are getting pumped about a new club in the city geared toward two-wheelers.

Cycle Stratford will officially launch May 25 from 2-4 p.m. with a series of bike-friendly events at the Kiwanis Community Centre, highlighted by an inaugural ride.

“We’re pretty excited about this,” said Gordon Sherwin, president of the recently formed club. “I think it’s going to be really good.”

The idea for Cycle Stratford first started to gain traction about a year ago following a Share the Road presentation at the Rotary Complex, which focused on safe transportation for local cyclists, motorists and pedestrians.

Since then, a core group of cycling enthusiasts has been working to incorporate the new club, develop bylaws and secure insurance.

Go to full article on the Beacon Herald’s website:

New cycling club in Stratford set to hit the road

Parkview United Church Strawberry Supper June 18, 2014


Train Dreams at Gallery Stratford


More info at Gallery Stratford’s website

Stratford Festival Forum


The Last Confession – World Tour


The Last Confession


The Last Confession delves into the most highly guarded institution in the world to explore the mystery shrouding the sudden death of Pope John Paul I in 1978.

Found dead just 33 days after being elected, suspicions are aroused when it is revealed that, on the evening before his death, the new Pope had warned three of his most influential but hostile Cardinals that they would be replaced. The Vatican refuses to conduct an official investigation into the death. Cardinal Benelli is the only one to challenge the dead Pope’s enemies.

Starring David Suchet (Agatha Christie’s Poirot) as Cardinal Benelli and eminent British actor Richard O’Callaghan as Pope John Paul I,  Roger Crane’s thriller comes to Toronto following sold out runs at the Chichester Festival Theatre and the Theatre Royal Haymarket in London.

Also starring Roy Lewis of Stratford, Ontario!



April 19 – June 1, 2014


Royal Alexandra Theatre, 260 King Street West
Toronto, ON, M5V1H9
416 872-1212
Seating Chart

Performance Schedule:

Tue – Sat 8PM
Wed, Sat & Sun 2PM

No performance on Sat April 19 at 2PM

Running Time:

2 hrs 30 min includes intermission

It’s getting tough to find a book. But it’s worth it.



Elizabeth Renzetti, The Globe and Mail


Walk the streets of a major Canadian city and you can buy food from every exotic port in the world, dozens of types of coffee brewed in countless ways, sneakers that cost more than appliances. The only thing that’s hard to find is a book.

Independent booksellers are going down like bowling pins…click here for full article

Stratford’s Spring Swan Parade Celebration Postponed to April 12-13, 2014.


Stratford, ON
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Cold temperatures delay Stratford’s spring Swan Parade weekend celebration to April 12 & 13.

The festivities traditionally held on the first weekend in April have been challenged this year with unrelenting winter weather. As a result, organizers have decided to move the celebrations by one week to April 12 & 13. “The swans need open water on the Avon River before they can be released and it wouldn’t be a proper spring celebration without the swan parade.” remarks Cathy Rehberg, marketing manager, Stratford Tourism Alliance. “People really look forward to this event as their sign that spring has arrived.”

Weekend festivities will continue beginning Saturday, April 12 with the Swan Quest, a search for decorated topiary swans in Stratford’s heritage district; free horse-drawn carriage tours; photos with BJ the swan mascot and a swan inspired children’s book launch. The highlight of the weekend is Sunday’s Swan Celebration, one of Canada’s most unique events announcing the arrival of spring. Free family entertainment, street performers and food trucks will be presented from 12 noon – 3:00 pm along Lakeside Drive (between Waterloo St. and Morenz Dr.). The Swan Parade, marking the return of the swans to the Avon River begins at 2:00 pm on Sunday and is organized by the Civic Beautification and Environmental Awareness committee. Listen for the sound of the Stratford Police Pipes and Drums who lead the parade.

Free parking is available in the Stratford Festival parking lot, corner of Lakeside Drive and Queen Street and along Lakeside Drive east of Front Street. People are encouraged to walk or ride their bicycles to the event.

For more information, a Swan Quest Ballot and a video clip of the swan parade, go to, call 519-271-5140 or 1-800-561-7926, or visit us at Stratford Tourism Alliance, 47 Downie Street, Stratford.


2014 Cobble Hill Puzzles have arrived!

Rufous Hummingbird is a 500 piece puzzle by Cobble Hill.   Available at The Book Vault Inc., Stratford, ON.

Rufous Hummingbird is a 500 piece puzzle by
Cobble Hill.
Available at The Book Vault Inc., Stratford, ON.


The new release puzzles from our favourite puzzle company are here!  Over 60 new and stunning puzzles of all sizes and themes are here and on display to cheer us all up as we endure the winter-that-just-won’t-end-soon-enough.

See you soon!

Christopher Leadership Course, Stratford – starting Jan. 30, 2014.

Terrified of public speaking?

Want to improve your leadership skills?

 Christopher Leadership Course – Level 1

The CLC Level 1 course is a 10 week course based on adult learning principles. Each week, instructors present a different area of focus. The learned skills are then practiced in a positive and supportive workshop setting. In CLC courses, you learn by doing!

Presentation Types
  • How to organize a talk – Learning how to organize and deliver dynamic and memorable presentations
  • Speech reading – Practicing the dos and don’ts for reading
  • Speaking with an exhibit – Learning how exhibits can enhance your presentations
  • Introducing and thanking speakers – Setting the stage and make a presenter feel welcome
  • Presenting and accepting gifts – Making the recipient feel honored at their next retirement, going-away, birthday, anniversary, or other special event
  •  Impromptu speeches – Using techniques to speak effectively with little preparation
Presentation Techniques
  • Memory techniques – Ways to remember key presentation points, and people’s names
  • Eliminating “hems and haws” from your speech – Becoming a more polished professional
  • Effective delivery – Learn how to use eye contact, gestures, posture and vocal intonation to enhance your message
  • Adding KEY ingredients to your talk – Making your talk come alive!
Leadership Techniques
  • Realizing your leadership talents by focusing on these attributes:
    • Courage
    • Listening
    • Openness
    • Uniqueness
    • Being Positive
    • Being Involved
    • Embracing Change
    • Taking time to celebrate life
Upcoming CLC1 Class

The next 11-week Christopher Leadership Course will be held at Spruce Lodge in Stratford on Thursday evenings from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM starting January 30th.  For more information, call 519-273-6535 or visit their website Huron Perth Christophers.

“The Christopher Leadership Course has changed my life not only by teaching me public speaking skills, but also by helping me find the courage and confidence to use them! Thank you so much!” Teresa Coulthard, CLC grad 2012.

A rare book store’s last chapter…

930_best_sellers (2)

Best Sellers is a 1000 piece puzzle from White Mountain. It is available at the Book Vault, in Stratford, Ontario.

The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Dec. 20 2013, 4:17 PM EST
Last updated Friday, Dec. 20 2013, 4:17 PM EST

Twenty thousand books surround Steven Temple, but not a single shopper. The disproportion is telling: In February he will shutter his Toronto used-book store and an era of crusty bibliophilia will come to an end.

For close to 40 years and across seven different locations, barely outpacing the creep of Queen West gentrification, he has sold the printed word to the passing trade. At one point in the 1980s, he was surrounded by a dozen other bookstores that took advantage of low rents in the once-shabby district just west of downtown to attract browsers from the city’s towers.
Now in the age of Kindle, he stands alone, a specialist in rare Canadiana from another time whose second-floor shop is both out of sight and out of mind for the fashionable retail strip’s trend-seekers.

“These people can’t and don’t read, and they’re off in shallowland,” says the 66-year-old Mr. Temple with the gruff bluntness of his trade. “They’re not my customers. If they manage to find their way up here, they get lost in space, they’re way over their heads.”

He doesn’t exactly make it easy for them. He reluctantly commutes from Welland, Ont., and is generally open to the public only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons – though he does promise extended hours for a mid-January clearance sale. But to restore the lost connection between book and buyer – and clear space for his retreat to the home-based online dealership he’s run since 1998 – he’s priced the entire tight-packed room at a discount. Everything above $25 (anyone need a 1780 translation of 1001 Arabian Nights?) is half-price, anything below that (such as a 1971 hardcover of Alice Munro’s Lives of Girls and Women) is $5.

“All interesting and mostly uncommon books,” states his sales flyer with an understated enthusiasm that the book trade’s English Lit. grads know to call litotes. “No junk.” Almost all of his stock is hardcover, in respectable condition and of a certain age – the passage of time and taste has turned old dust-jackets into eye-catching artifacts of a vanished era, and even an early guide to North Bay ends up looking like an Art Deco mini-masterpiece.

Mr. Temple came to Canada as a U.S. war resister in 1970 and leveraged his literature BA into a clerk’s job at a Yonge Street soft-core porn emporium that, with the era’s rebellious streak, also stocked counterculture poetry, memoirs and fiction. While he was happy to sell barely used Playboy magazines and Harlequin bodice-rippers when he first set up shop for himself across from the Rex Hotel in 1974, his second-hand tastes have always been literary and off the beaten track.

“What yanks my chain about books is rarity,” he says from his low perch behind the sales counter (though he’d rather be doing paperwork in his back room, and tells the phone to “Piss off” when it rings). “Some people go for what you might say is sentiment, they like inscribed copies. Others are very visual and like a book’s design. But rarity gets me every time. Collectors are kind of warped individuals: They like to have something their neighbour doesn’t have and be able to brag about it. That’s not wholly rational.”

It was easier to brag when he had neighbours in the trade. But he still can muster pride in a 1920s calendar of Canadian verse, designed by Thoreau MacDonald, that he acquired for the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto. “It’s the only known copy, gorgeous and as rare as it gets.”

The operative principle of his business is to chase books that are obscure or forgotten – because that’s where the used-book world’s hidden values lie, in the fluctuations of reputation, in the gap between a seller’s underestimation and a collector’s tightly focused desire.

“I work the dark corners and I’m good at that,” he says, sounding like a character from one of the first-edition noir novels on his crime rack. “I can take money from places where you wouldn’t think there was money to be had.”

He holds up a book, The God of the Machine, from 1943. Inside is a closely typed six-page letter written by its author Isabel Paterson, an impoverished Alberta farm girl who became a pioneering figure in the American libertarian movement.

“Nobody’s heard of her. I’m not a critic. But I do need to know what mattered. And this stuff mattered. You ought to want it.”

Most people don’t, of course – the lesson of Queen Street West. But a few people will always want what’s unwanted, and that’s a need he knows he can still satisfy.

Link to original article on The Globe and Mail’s website