I finally visited Vancouver B.C. last weekend, and dropped by two places of interest to paper types: The Regional Assembly of Text and Paper-Ya. The former has a nice display of typewriters, at least 20 or so in various places around the store (not for sale), and I couldn't leave without a Coronomatic 8000 t-shirt. As it happens, I charged my camera battery up before leaving for Vancouver, and brought my camera... without putting the battery back in, and therefore I have no pictures, but there are plenty on Flickr. A curious thing about the RAOT is that behind the sales counter there is a collection of filing cabinets and drawers containing intriguing suggestions of various stationery items and papers, but they aren't accessible to customers.
Paper-Ya is on Granville Island, where there is a public food and crafts market so obscenely decadent that it makes Seattle's Pike Place market seem sad and shabby by comparison (sorry, Seattle). I shall digress by telling you that I had a cream puff dessert thing in one of the market bakeries that was literally the best dessert, and possibly thing, I have ever tasted. But back to Paper-Ya: it blew my mind. Don't let the web site deceive you (its use of mystery meat navigation may in fact prevent you from locating its content)- whoever buys for that store is AWESOME.
Firstly, the selection of high-quality pocket notebooks is something to behold. You've got your Apicas and your Clairfontaines and your Moleskines and Rhodias, sure. But Penco? Rollbahn? A dozen others I've never heard of? Throw in your bookbinding supplies, handmade paper, fountain pens, datebooks, and related accessories of the paper trade, all tasteful, high quality, and from interesting corners of the globe, that you pretty much don't find anywhere in any retail store, ever, and well, Paper-Ya is the promised land.
There aren't tons of good pictures of this place on Flickr (here's one that gives a small eye-view. And another. And this.) but trust me, you're going to want to proceed there at once.
Update: Here is a random link about notebooks that I enjoyed. Also check out the Black Cover blog, which is a blog about the search for the perfect Moleskine alternative.
The collection has grown to 75
8 hours ago