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Hannelore Headley Old & Fine Books

Left: Russian section includes books of Russian history, politics, economics and biographies. Top right: Front and side view of Hannelore Headley Old & Fine Books on Queen Street. Bottom right: Chess enthusiasts teach lessons to local kids at Hannelore Headley Chess Park. Photos: Ambika Sangaran; Nikita Balaji; Greg Willis.




"Crammed into a relatively small space, with what seemed to be almost no order within the sections were thousands and thousands of books. From floor to ceiling in precarious piles and old bookcases. Every inch of the store was filled with books" says a blog writer.  From the crammed space storing thousands and thousands of books, Laurie Richards, the new store owner and Catherine Steel-Ewart, longtime store employee provide book apraisals and evaluations, search services for out-of-print books besides purchasing and selling used books.


Some aaditional advantages to shopping here: purchases can be returned, and no GST will be charged with your purchases!


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This destination is also part of the TripClip tour entitled Bookworm Tour of St. Catharines.


Hours of Operation

Monday           10.00am - 5.00pm

Tuesday          10.00am - 5.00pm

Wednesday      10.00am - 5.00pm

Thursday         10.00am - 5.00pm

Friday             11.00am - 6.00pm

Saturday         10.00am - 5.00pm

Sunday            Closed



From Toronto:

1. Travel on Queen Elizabeth Way following signs for Niagara/East Hamilton/Fort Erie.

2. Take the exit 42, leading to Ontario Street/Regional Road 42.

3. Turn right (south) onto Ontario Street/Regional Road 42.

4. Turn left (east) onto Welland Avenue/Regional Road 77. 

5. Take the second right (south) onto Queen Street. 

From Niagara:

1. Travel on Queen Elizabeth Way following signs to Toronto.

2. Take exit 46 toward Lake Street/Regional Road 42.

3. Turn right (south) onto Lake Street.

4. Turn left (east) onto Queen Street.

5. The location will be on your right.



Hannelore Headley Old & Fine Books has been in operation  1972. Hannelore Headley, the former owner of Hannelore Headley Old & Fine Books comes from a family of book sellers. Before being persectued and fleeing to Shanghai, China, Hannelore's father ran a book store at Germany. While Naszism chased her family from Germany, Chinese Communism chased her and her family from Shanghai. In the short time that Hannelore's family lived in China, her father opened another bookstore there. From Shanghai, the family moved to Montreal, Canada and they opened another bookstore there. 


From Montreal, she moved to Vancouver after marriage. As expected, she opened a bookstore there and became Canada's youngest bookstore owner at the age of 21. A divorce and another marriage led her to St.Catharines, following her husband Prof. Velmer's appintment as a Mathematics professor at Brock University in 1968. Hannelore worked at St.Catharines Public Library in her early days in St. Catharines. Not long after, on Spetember 11, 1972, she opened Hannelore Headley Old & Fine Books following the path that her family had been following for generations. 


There is some confusion regarding the exact location of the first store. Some sources says that the store was opened at Duke Street while some other sources at Wellington Street. Thus, the store must have been located at or near the junction of Duke Street and Wellington Street. Better business led to a new store opening at 71, Queen Street with more room. Hannelore Headly Old & Fine Books still stands strongs and is being in operation at the same location since then.


In 2001, Hannalore opened another Downtown Fine Books at 285, St. Paul Street. In 2002, she sold the store to her brother Heinemann and sister-in-law Fran Merion. The new store owners renamed the store as The Write Bookshop. In 2004, Hannelore Headley, a long time book enthusiast, published her own book titled 'Blond China Doll'. 


A local journalist wrote, "Hannelore Headley is one of those gems who has done her best to thrive in a market that spells disaster for many others". Hannelore was a member of Antiquarian Booksellers Association of Canada. She won the Best Used Book Store award by Pulse Magazine in 20 and Local Person of the Year Award for St. Catharines in 2005. Hannelore dedication to her work was exemplified when she called a client searching for a specific book once she found it, which was 11 years after her request. 


Hannelore Headley is listed as a Significant Local Individuals list for St.Catharines. In June 15, 2013, Hannelore Headley passed away surrounded by her family. Since then, to appreciate her contributions to the St.Catharines Community, the parklette near Lake Street and Queen Street (west of Hannelore Headley Old & Fine Books) was renamed as Hannelore Headley Chess Park by the City of St.Catharines.


The store has welcomed a new owner, Laurie Richards, since then. Together with longtime store employee Catherine Steel-Ewart, Ms.Richards is continuing the legacy of Hannelore Headley Old & Fine Books.



A 2100 square foot parkette by a five way intersection near Lake Street and Queen Street was renamed as Hannelore Headley Chess Park by the City of St. Catharines. The name change was made after receiving a request from Greg Willis. He and a few other chess enthusiasts teach chess to kids every week at the parklette. It features three fixed tables and chairs, of which two have chess/checkerboard designed on the table tops. 


This parkette is on the west of Hannelore Headley Old & Fine Books, on the same street. Apart from the name it carries, it is not affiliated with the bookstore.


Further Information


 DeViller, J. (2010, July 10). The blind bookseller: The first in a two part profile of Hannelore Headley. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://jeffdeviller.blogspot.ca/2010/07/blind-bookseller-first-in-two-part_02.html


DeViller, J. (2010. July 9). The intrepid tales of a blond china doll: The finale in a two part profile of Hannelore Headley. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://jeffdeviller.blogspot.ca/2010/07/intrepid-tales-of-blond-china-doll.html


Fraser, D. (2012, September 18). Downtown book store owner marks 40 years. St.Catharines Standard. Retrieved from 



Fraser, D. (2013, June 17). Longtime St.Catharines bookstore owner dies. St.Catharines Standard. Retrieved from http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/2013/06/17/longtime-st-catharines-bookstore-owner-dies


Houle, R. (2013, October 17). Council to vote on naming parkette in honour of  longtime bookstore owner. St.Catharines Standard. Retrieved from http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/2013/10/17/council-to-vote-on-naming-parkette-in-honour-of-longtime-bookstore-owner


Krawchuk, H. (2013, January 24). A gem of a book store in St. Catharines. What's On St.Catharines. Retrieved from http://www.whatsonstcatharines.com/news/gem-book-store-st-catharines/3063


Sullivan, K. (2013, September 18). Corporate report. Retrieved from 





71 Queen Street
L2R 5G9 Municipality St.Catharines


905 684 6145

GPS Co-ordinates

Latitude 43.158537
Longitude -79.249892
UTM easting 642282.58
UTM northing 4779906.93


Laurie Richards
Tel 905 684 6145
Toll free (877) 817-5625
Email hanneloreheadley@cogeco.ca
Website www.hanneloreheadleybooks.ca

Surface features 

'near Hannelore Headley Chess Park'; 'near Montebello Park'

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