History Repeating Itself

When Stefanie and Richard moved EC Rare Books into their new space on Cambie Street, they made a captivating discovery. The very space they now occupied was originally owned by a family of bookbinders. This little bit of fate was an inspiring welcome to Richard, a third-generation bookbinder himself. Two framed photos of the original family and business now hang in the shop as a relic of Gastown’s History.

The space Richard and Stefanie created seems metaphoric in itself. When walking down the steps it’s as if you are stepping back in time. Antique tools frame Richards work station, their use still functional to his practice. Books with titles recognizable to more unique line the walls eager to be picked up and read. Even the rolls of leather waiting to be bound have a story to them. One roll, in particular, had been salvaged from a ship off the coast Russia, sunken over 200 years ago! Richard uses it sparingly, but did bind a collection of Captain Cooks maps.

When speaking to Stefanie and Richard you are reminded of the novelty and importance of literature. While the shops appears like a museum, they want every customer to know that books belong in hands. They believe there is a collector inside everyone, which is made apparent by shoppers’ excitement when they recognize a title or come looking for recommendations.

With three generations in the antiquarian book trade and a worldwide network of collectors supporting their expertise, Richard and Stefanie provide a unique shop experience. So if you’re a long-time collector, a bookworm, or even a dog who simply loves the smell of antique leather, EC Rare Books is a Gastown must visit.

Q: Can you name a “Gastown moment” (something that wouldn’t happen in any other ‘hood)?

A:  When we made the discovery that our space has once before been a book binding business. Moving is always a big step and knowing that this family had a practise here and succeeded for many years helped us transition the space into a studio and storefront.

Q: Number one date spot in Gastown?

A: On a sunny day I would start with a walk down water street, there the tourism stops like the Steamclock then there are the eventing stops like Guilt and Co. I would head to Di Beppe  as they have the best Americano in the city. I don’t think you can do Gastown without going on a massive food tour.