Avenus, Martin

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Avenus, Martin

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1928-2011

History

Martin (aka Marty) Ahvenus, born in Toronto in 1928, was for over 30 years the proprietor of Village Books, which he first opened on Toronto’s Gerrard Street in June 1961. At the time, Gerrard St. was akin to New York’s Greenwich Village, and Ahvenus’ shop became a favoured place for young writers and poets, including Al Purdy, bp Nichol (who used the store as his mailing address), Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, Milton Acorn, Joe Rosenblatt and Gwendolyn MacEwen, among many others. Ahvenus was an early champion of contemporary Canadian poetry, and was one of only a handful of booksellers that stocked it in a serious way, including many small press imprints.

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Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto

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