Mabel’s Fables, one of Toronto’s few remaining independent bookstores, almost 32 years old and specializing in books for children and young adults is facing a 70% rent increase that will soon force it to close.
The entrance to Mabel’s Fables is on Hillsdale Avenue East, the street I grew up on and the very street I returned to live on as an adult. I watched with keen interest in 1988 as two sisters prepped and painted, opening Mabel’s Fables and transforming the corner of my street into a wonderful centre of magic, wonder and learning. I brought my own daughter to shop there and as a young girl she became friends with the owners and their staff. I can’t imagine the corner of Hillsdale and Mount Pleasant without Mabel’s Fables as its anchor. Mabel’s Fables is a neighbourhood institution, deservingly listed in Secret Toronto– a place where children and adults can come together and explore the depths of imagination while encouraging ever-important literacy skills for children. All children, from all walks of life, must have such a place to visit, to feel welcome and to find inspiration.
If Mabel’s Fables closes its doors the landlord still wins and we, the community of readers and parents and children lose. Balance must be struck. Indeed, every business, including Mabel’s Fables landlord, has a right to turn a profit. But a 70% rent increase puts the investment of two courageous entrepreneurs Eleanor LeFave and Susan McCulloch- the visionary women of Mabel’s Fables, in dire jeopardy. It destroys a neighbourhood landmark and extinguishes a remarkably successful brand built over three decades.
Newspapers, TV networks and the local community are rallying behind Mabel’s Fables – as is Toronto councillor Josh Matlow. You can sign his petition in support of the bookstore here: https://joshmatlow.ca/take-action-mabels-fables/
May we see Mabel’s Fables able to negotiate a more reasonable rent increase that keeps them in business inspiring patrons of all ages for many years to come.
Kaja Blackley is the author of Maggie MacCormack and the Witches’ Wheel now on sale: maggiemaccormack.com