A few months ago, we learned that Silver Snail Toronto was relocating from its legendary Queen St West location. The “death of Queen St” conversation was on everyone’s lips at the time.
Now, the retailer has announced the address for the new home (Yonge and Dundas!) and posted a video tour of their new digs.
This location is a great choice.
Dundas Square needs a comic book store. With music stores HMV and Sam the Record Man gone, the Snail provides an injection of flashy comic book entertainment flavour to the retail mix especially at a time when comics are a noticeable ingredient in the popular culture mix.The foot traffic in that area is great. It’s adjacent to Ryerson University. And with Hairy Tarantula and One Million Comix both up the street and BMV Books around the corner, their arrival gives comic fans a compelling new reason to shop along Yonge since Grey Region shuttered its doors.
Read also: Silver Snail comic book store is moving
From the beginning, I thought the originally announced Annex location was not a good idea. Cool neighbourhood, yes. But not only is The Beguiling an anchor and institution in the neighbourhood, the Snail has a personality much-better suited to blinking lights of Dundas Square. Plus, Toronto desperately needs a Midtown Comics-style store, which I feel OMC tries to achieve but hasn’t nailed. Silver Snail has credibility not least because they bring in lots of top talent for signings. They could even start featuring Hollywood comic book movie celebrity signings (like The Avengers‘ Scarlett Johansson or Chris Hemsworth) at the new location and attract lots of attention.
Read also: Selling comic books on the television
The Silver Snail is the latest casualty of the Queen West squeeze. They’ll be closing their doors sometime in 2012 and (hopefully) opening in a new location in a different part of the city. Owner Ron Van Leeuwen is retiring and selling the business after 35 years.
I’m not the kind of person who pines for the old days, but I have mixed feelings about the news. I think it has less to do with the fact that the Snail itself is relocating (I had a stronger reaction when I heard Bakka Books was moving and shed a tear when I discovered Pages had closed its doors) so much as this was one of the last signposts of the old Queen Street West, which has completely lost its soul since chains like Shoppers Drug Mart and American Apparel have moved in. (Will Steve Music Store be far behind?)
“I think what’s going on on Bloor St. is very special right now,” says Mark Askwith. “Queen St. for whatever reason has become a place where fashion rules rather than counterculture.”- read the story
I just hope the new owners can find a home better suited to where its clientele can be found shopping these days. But moving off the busy Queen West strip (and away from the MuchMusic studio) means a lot of the celebrity drop-in moments might not happen anymore.
Where will the Snail go?
“If we can find a big enough space it would be cool to have a café inside,” says George Zotti [current manager and new owner]. He cast his eye to the northwest and sees the bookish neighbourhood of the Annex, already home to book shops Book City and BMV and the city’s other renowned comic destination, The Beguiling. That would be a “good fit.”
Those plans sound pretty sweet. And while I will miss the old girl, I’ll date the new one so long as she’s not too fancy.
A word of advice, if I can be so humble, try to keep the cool store fronts.
Update: Check out details on the new location
The only two things I really know about the new series Kill Shakespeare is that it’s published by IDW and comes out on April 7. But I was intrigued by co-creator Conor McCreery’s description.
Conor lives in Toronto and previously worked for BNN (Business News Network), which is Canada’s 24-hour business news TV channel.
The first video clip has very little depth. It could use a description of the series, at the very least, as well as include a few examples of comic titles he’s into right now. But what’s included about the series concept is interesting enough that I want to give it a shot.
This trailer offers a bit more tease.
This link on the publisher’s site has some “official” info. And the creator blog is neat.
Besides if Shakespeare was alive today, he (or she? ) would probably be writing comics. Right? 🙂
The Joe Shuster Awards web site reports some good news/bad news about the Toronto comic retail scene.
The Good News: 3rd Quadrant Comics repoened its doors on Nov 5. The Shuster blog chronicles owner Daryl C. Collison’s trials and tribulations in finding a new location. Needless to say all the indie shops are getting squeezed out of Queen W, where 3rd Quadrant used to be located. Unfortunately for downtowners, it’s moved all the way up to Yonge and Steeles. The “new” Queen West is shiny and new, but it’s lost much of its personality.
The Bad News: it appears that Grey Region has closed its doors of its downtown location on Yonge near Wellesely. When it first opened back in the late 80’s, it too was located on Queen St. along with 3rd Quadrant, the Silver Snail (which is still there), and a few others who have since moved location or closed down. I shopped Grey Region because they had great prices on new paperbacks. I’ll also remember it as the store where I picked up the full run of Wintermen when I first got back into comics a few years ago.
If you’re shopping along Yonge, there are still 1,000,000 Comix, Hairy Tarantula and BMV Books next door to the World’s Biggest Bookstore near the Eaton Centre.
Buffy and Angel fans take note, Juliet Landau will be signing autographs at the Silver Snail Toronto location on November 21. The details:
Juliet Landau is perhaps most famous for playing the character Drusilla on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel tv series. She also co-starred along side Johnny Depp in the movie Ed Wood. She more recently co-wrote two issues of the Angel comic book series for IDW Publishing.
She will be appearing at Silver Snail in Toronto and will be doing autographs for $25 for one item or $40 for two.
7pm – 9pm
Saturday, November 21st