Pat Paas, 55, Founder of Crux Books
Although we’d never met, I was sorry to learn today of the passing of Pat Paas, founder of Crux Books, on the weekend at age 55. Crux Books was (and is still, see 2016 update below) a niche-market theological bookstore located on the campus of the University of Toronto dealing in both new and used books. [Toronto Star death notice.] Many of its customers were from the Toronto School of Theology, Emmanuel College, Knox College and Wycliffe College, its home location.
Here’s some of the history of Crux, as taken from the store’s website.
Since 1996 Crux Books Inc. has offered a friendly atmosphere to purchase both new and used Theological books. Starting from a storage closet in the late nineties, Crux moved into its first manageable space in 1999. After 3 years in this ample, but small room in the basement of Wycliffe College Pat Paas, the proprietor decided that a new location would have to be found.
This search ended when the libraries of Wycliffe and Trinity College were combined leaving a vacancy in the space previously occupied by the Wycliffe College library. After a few months of cleaning, re-carpeting, painting and the application of new shelving the new space was ready to be opened in the summer of 2002. Crux Books began to thrive in this new location, quickly building a larger and more diverse customer base.
This new location also was the first home to the new beverage cafe offering gourmet coffees and teas as well as fresh hot chocolate…The current location of crux is in the heart of the University of Toronto campus, directly adjacent to the Queens Park Circle, one block south of Bloor St. Those who make the trip to the store will be pleasantly surprised by the comfortable atmosphere, friendly and helpful staff, and absolutely unbeatable prices on all theological, philosophical, classic literature and fly-fishing books.
The last phrase is not a typo. Pat was apparently an avid fly-fisherman, and it was on a fly-fishing site that I first confirmed news of his passing. It’s a reminder to all of us of the need to have a hobby or interest beyond our bookstores and church activities.
By all accounts, the store was Pat, so the staff and family will have to determine its future. It’s simply not the kind of store that most of us could jump into running. Our sympathies go out to the family, staff and friends.
Seven-and-a-half years later, Crux Books is alive and well. We discovered this article in our files after visiting the store in August, 2016 and were again reminded how articles on the internet continue to live on. We’ll do an update on our visit soon.