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Meet Hilary Atleo: Iron Dog Books

Meet Hilary Atleo: Iron Dog Books

Walking into Iron Dog to meet with Hilary, the shop has just opened and she’s already helping a young reader find the perfect book. She sees me and says, “we are looking for a vampire book – but not the obvious one.” Hilary fingers through the shelves and quickly finds what she is looking for. The young reader, delighted, starts flipping through the pages as Hilary and I head to the backroom.

Hilary Atleo is one of the co-owners of Iron Dog Books along with her husband, Cliff. The pair have been running the business since 2017 which originally started as a mobile book store which would be found at various markets and events. In December 2019, Hilary and Cliff were able to lease a space right next to their dear friend, Paula, at Baaad Anna’s. “Paula actually called me as soon as the place was up for lease. She’s the reason we were able to get the space.”

Since 2010, Hilary has been a bookseller. After working in various bookstores, she decided that she wanted to open her own, “I wanted the store to reflect the things I care about and what our shop can do for the community; independent bookstores are as unique as fingerprints.”

Along with opening new shipments of books, another one of Hilary’s favourite things about her job is choosing books for others. “I love that I get to be a book therapist. I choose the right book for the right person at the right time in their life. There’s a lot of trust in that.”

When Hilary isn’t at the shop, she can be found hiking in the rain with her family or reading – her current read is Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton.

Hilary’s East Village Favourites:

  • Breakfast at the Slocan with her son (he loves the pancakes!)
  • Working through Blind Rabbit’s customizable gin and tonic list along with a charcuterie board
  • Attending knitting circles at Baaad Anna’s

Iron Dog Books is an Indigenous-owned bookshop and booktruck dedicated to bringing low cost reading to Səl̓ilwətaɁɬ, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm territories (metro Vancouver).


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