January 20, 2021

Summerside Bookstore offers free books to newcomers about Canada

When a customer Nancy Quinn says they are new to Canada, she often asks what brought them to the country, usually giving them a free book.

Quinn Summerside, who owns seaside books at P.E.I., last year had an open house in store for those who were nowhere else on Christmas Day.

He has not held an open house this year due to COVID-19 – but is trying to keep hospitality alive.

Now, as the holiday season begins, he is offering a free book about Canada to any newcomer to the store.

Quinn takes various Canadian themed books from the shelf and places them in a plastic bin near the money so people can catch one easily. (Tony Davis / CBC)

“Throughout the year I set aside books about Canada,” Quinn said.

“What I have decided to do is give the people who spend the first winter here.”

He said Quinn tweeted what he was doing and wanted to attract the attention of newcomer groups and the government.

“It’s nice to know where you are going to live,” he said.

“It sounds like a simple gesture to make a good impression on someone who has left their homeland.”

Quinn said people are often surprised when he gives a book away for free.

You can pick up books at the seaside bookshops on Water Street in Summerside. (Tony Davis / CBC)

“I look to my SummerSite community to clean me up from these Canadian books,” Quinn said.

Those who notice new people in their community can come to the bookstore, grab a book and give it to a new neighbor – and start a conversation with new people, he said.

“What I really want to do is make some new people happy.”

You can pick up books at his shop on Water Street.

“It’s been a tough year for everyone,” Quinn said. “I want to find ways to make this better.”

The PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada shared Quinn’s invitation on its Facebook page.

“We appreciate all those who volunteered to help welcome the newcomers and add to the island life,” the organization’s officials said in an email.

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