Saskatoon

Alternative bookstore Turning The Tide celebrates 15th anniversary in Saskatoon

For years now, one small business owner in Saskatoon has pushed forward with an unwavering belief that books can be a powerful agent of change.

Owner believes books can inspire change

Turning the Tide bookstore's original location at 525 11th Street East. It has since been torn down, and the store has moved to a new location. (Google Street View)

For years now, one small business owner in Saskatoon has pushed forward with an unwavering belief that books can be a powerful agent of change.

I still have a passion for these issues.- Peter Garden 

"I enjoy exposing people to new ideas," said Peter Garden.

Garden is the owner of Turning the Tide Bookstore, a must stop for anyone who is looking for alternative points of view on topics that are in the zeitgeist. The independent bookstore is celebrating its 15th anniversary.    

Can a bookstore inspire political change? Peter Garden thinks so. He's the owner of Turning the Tide Bookstore, which has been supplying Saskatoon with alternative ideas for the past 15 years. 6:56

Independent evolution 

"It's been really interesting to see the different issues…and the sort of role that we could play in helping to provide the information and education on those issues," Garden said in an interview with CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning.

That was part of the process, getting out there.- Peter Garden 

Garden initially found his activist roots in the west coast social justice movement where he took part in World Trade Organization protests, and saw the power of independent media with the rise of the Internet.

"I really wanted to bring those ideas to Saskatoon when I moved here and so I started a little book table project and I was going out to different events selling my books."

It was a humble start for Turning the Tide, but Garden quickly made the jump from table top to permanent retail space when he moved into the "Merry Mansion," a tiny little pink two storey house that used to be tucked in behind Lydia's Pub (both are gone now, victims of progress).

"Rents were low and the space that we were using was quite small," recalled Garden.

Peter Garden finds activist roots in trade protests and decided to bring that energy back to Saskatoon with a belief that he could inspire change with books. (CBC)

The times are changing

Garden stuffed the shelves with topics like globalization, trade, feminism, LGBTQ rights, food politics, and he kept up the habit of packing up books and setting up a table at events.  

"That was part of the process, getting out there and making community connections."

Fifteen years later, and those vital connections have helped see Turning the Tide Bookstore through the ever-changing political climate (Indigenous issues now the number one topic), a dramatic upswing in the cost of doing business in the Broadway District and a move to a new location on Main Street.

Through it all, Garden's commitment remains.

"I still have a passion for these issues. I've obviously seen a lot of change, I have a family now, and I'm not out on the front lines as often as I used to be, but I still have a passion for making change."

with files from Saskatoon Morning