When Barb Pratt opened Blue Heron Books in 1989, she had a life-long dream to be at the helm of a bookstore, a background in publishing and a confidence in the need for a
local bookstore. From its humble beginnings the store has become a stalwart on the main drag, and a hub for all things literary.
Shelley Macbeth, the store’s present day impresario, is proud of Uxbridge’s arrival on the literary map of Canada. The store has brought headline authors such as Timothy Findley, Michael Ondaatje, and Nino Ricci to town.
An original, and continuing, store mandate is to foster early literacy and keep kids enthusiastic about reading. Who can forget the final Harry Potter extravaganza that transformed Brock St into Hogsmeade? Or the 100th Anniversary of Anne of Green Gables event that saw red tresses braided and period costumes paraded
Blue Heron serves as an anchor for the arts community, the source of who, what, where and when, as well as being the conduit for how
by selling tickets. Over two decades Shelley says “a conservative
estimate puts ticket sales for community events over 100,000.” An
astounding number when one considers the time, energy, and enthusiasm
invested in this task and the fact the store has never taken a fee for the service.
In 2000, the store changed hands and new owner Marilyn Maher ramped up service to the school market. The store became the area’s premiere resource for schools. In 2004, the store moved to its present location at 62 Brock Street West.