With many of our volunteers on adventures abroad I took down to 4th and Dunbar to talk with the founder and owner of Banyen Books and Sound, Kolin Lymworth.
Banyen Books was initially opened in 1970 by Kolin at the age of 21 after returning from a trip to India. As the business grew so did Banyen’s array of goods and services it provides. Originally, Banyen Sound was Kolin’s other front, but was eventually combined both stores. Now adays, Banyen offers supplemental products such as yoga equipment, incense, and audio/video equipment.
What is it that makes Banyen unique? Originally Kolin was in search of readings about the spiritual and healing traditions of the world. Since 1970, the selection has grown to provide readings about topics such as yoga, diets, and a plethora of other options from around the world. Beyond it all though, Kolin strives to provide a place of solitude and escape, a place where people can come to be free.
“Banyen is a portal for beauty”
Banyen Books and Sounds is the epitome of community. The very name of the store stems from Kolin’s trip to India in which he found the shade of Banyen trees brought people together. These trees are often found around temples and spiritual grounds where people seek to ways to enhance their lives. Kolin wanted to represent these same traditions at his store, thus the name Banyen Books was born. This name perfectly matched Kolin’s passions for poetry and the pursuit of knowledge as well as his thirst for bringing people together.
Kolin has worked hard over the past 44 years to find ways of strengthening the Kitsilano community by helping bring people closer together. Banyen holds weekly events, often 2-3, free of charge to the public that range from author signings to yoga clinics. When it comes to his staff Kolin doesn’t expend any less energy. Every year Kolin hosts a party for all the staff to indulge in during summer and winter. Staff members get together on their own as well, often playing music together or seeking out ever more products to bring to the store.
“We are nature, part of nature. Our nature is to be together”
If it wasn’t evident already, Kolin is deeply passionate about finding ways of helping people live more fulfilling lives. Through this it is easy to understand why Kolin continues to build and mold Banyen Books.
Kolin was unlike any of the previous men I have had the pleasure of interviewing before. From the long grey beard, Hawaiian shirt, and khaki shorts you could always tell Kolin had some piece of wisdom he wanted to impart on you. This is what made Kolin so fascinating and interesting, he always spoke in broad terms that left so much to be desired. In the end though it was always clear that Kolin is passionate about building community and he will never stop in his search for information.
“I want to get people together in person in more meaningful ways.”
If you need a place of solitude and relaxation then head to Banyen Books! There are plenty of treasures waiting on the shelves for you to find! Take up yoga or learn more about spiritual healing during their upcoming events!
Most importantly, check back for more blogs from the P4A Crew!
For more info check out their website: Banyen Books and Sound