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Silver Snail (Yonge St.)

Posted by Guest Contributor / Posted on October 11, 2012

silver snail yonge st torontoThe Silver Snail has been a staple in Toronto's comic arts and hobbyist community for decades. From its comfortable Queen West location, it served as a go-to place for fans and collectors in Toronto. This month marks a big moment in the store's history as it moved to a location near Yonge and Dundas two weeks ago.

silver snail yonge st torontoSilver Snail's new home sits at 329 Yonge Street, just above the HMV. Hanging over the steps to the new store is a statue of Marvel's Spiderman in his classic costume. Creeping over his body, however, is the black alien symbiote whose presence would hail what would be known as an iconic era in the character's long history. This alone is very telling, as it represents the store's change and transformation, marking the dawn of a new age and a new Silver Snail.

silver snail yonge st torontoAnd the store has changed. The first thing visitors will notice is the scale. Hallways are wider to accommodate more customers and the racks are higher to store more products. The clothing section has been spaced out so that shirts of different makes and sizes are on display, adding room for hats, props and masks. Tall stacks of single issues and graphic novels sit in a long row that splits the store in half.

silver snail yonge st torontoThe games section has been given extra attention in the back, with the card games, board games and tabletop RPG rulebooks neatly arranged. A long table sits in the centre where game nights for Dungeons and Dragons and other RPGs are held. Word from the staff is that they are also planning on expanding the basement section to host more RPGs and Warhammer sessions. This area also has a public washroom, something the old location lacked.

silver snail yonge st torontoNear the front, hidden behind the stacks of plush toys and Tintin books, is a section specifically for young fans. Parents and children can sit down at a small table adorned with assorted merchandise. Kid-friendly toys, comics and activity books tower over the area and by the table sits a bucket full of action figures and dolls for children to play with.

silver snail yonge st torontoSpeaking of which, there are also more action figures, figurines and collectables than what was exhibited at the original location. According to staff member Toby Orr, many of their products were stored deep within the old Silver Snail's basement. With their new location, however, they could afford to spread their wares around more freely.

silver snail yonge st torontoThere's even an in-store cafe, a satellite location for The Black Canary Espresso Bar. Patrons now have a place to buy drinks, sit down and read their purchases at the tables and window-side counter seats of this restful corner. The section is overseen by life-sized Batman and Spiderman statues, and an illustration of DC's popular superhero Black Canary, provided by comic artist Calvin Law, adorns the counter.

silver snail yonge st torontoOverall, this shiny new Silver Snail has roosted well into the centre of the city. Its great blue sign above the windows should serve as a beacon for fans and customers old and new. Now bigger and only a half-block away from Dundas station, it should continue to be the main location for hobbyists that it has been for years.

Writing by Robert Iveniuk. Photos by Morris Lum.



Simon Tarses / October 11, 2012 at 01:28 pm
Thanks for the reminder and the pictures; I think that i shall take a look at the new digs today, or tomorrow.
skeeter / October 11, 2012 at 01:59 pm
"Silver Snail's new home sits at 329 Yonge Street, just above the HMV"
I think you mean it's next door to the HMV.
Khristopher / October 11, 2012 at 02:05 pm
It's above Five Guys, not HMV ;)
Ogre / October 11, 2012 at 02:39 pm
ROB / October 11, 2012 at 04:32 pm
The sign could be a little larger. Us nerds and manchildren wear bifocals you know.
Wheels / October 12, 2012 at 01:38 pm
You forgot the part where the new location is even less wheelchair friendly as there is now a long set of stairs. I really wish you would include more information like that in your reviews. The new location looks pretty but I will no long be able to shop there.
Robert Iveniuk / November 9, 2012 at 12:33 am
Error location error noted! Apologies for a slight mix-up and thanks to the readers for pointing them out. :)

And yes, I'm not pleased about the lack of wheelchair accessibility either. I regret not mentioning that in the article, but I will try to make note of such things in the future.
Robert Iveniuk replying to a comment from Robert Iveniuk / November 9, 2012 at 12:34 am

guys i are good articleman yus no
Joe Leon / November 12, 2012 at 06:34 pm
New stores looks nice. But remember last time when I visited their old Queen Street location. Was on the 2nd floor looking at stuff in the back and a staff member was standing nearby watching me to see if I was gonna shoplift. I can understand they'd have shoplifters but didn't like being made to feel like a thief.
Kensie / January 15, 2013 at 02:19 pm
Just went to the new location for the first time and I think I will go back to shopping for comics and collectables online. The staff are terrible. I was in the store 15 minutes and during this time one staff member stood at the back of the store watching YouTube clips of the Golden Globes and the other staff member at the cash knew nothing about figurines. When did this comic book store turn into a place where staff obsess over Award Shows and know nothing about one of their core product offerings?
Jeffrey / March 12, 2013 at 12:26 pm
I was in the back where they keep their toys and as soon as I picked one up to get a closer look I overheard a staff member say "Crap, there's teenagers in the toy section." Then a staff member literally sprinted to where I was, asking if I needed help while he counted all the boxes to see if I had taken any. Then I went to the washroom EMPTY HANDED after I heard a flush and realized they had one, (I was holding it in for a while), and on my way to the washroom the same staff member beat me to it and locked the doors. Really? This place is almost as bad as Red Nails II in my experience. I was so disappointed in their prejudice towards teens that I immediately just gave up, bought the new issue of Hawkeye and left.
Brian Dennis / March 18, 2013 at 04:36 pm
I was thinking of giving the new location this week. Never liked the staff at the old place and stopped going years ago. But after reading the reviews here...I think I'll skip it.
Brian / April 20, 2013 at 09:29 am
I visited my daughter in Toronto yesterday, she wanted to visit the snail. I told her about the reviews here, but she wanted a new book she was having a hard time finding. Not only did they have the book, but the staff was awesome! One helped us right away, she had a nice conversation with my daughter about her book. And the guy at cash was very friendly and didn't mind not talking about comics with me. Lol. The reviews here don't support my experience at the new silver snail. I say go back and give em another shot guys.
rhodox / April 29, 2013 at 11:22 pm
In their old location, I had nothing but good experiences with the store, however, the new store has been nothing but bad experiences. On my most recent visit, I picked up a copy of the game "Gloom" from their store, but the cards in the package were miscut, rendering the game unplayable.

I returned it (to the same salesperson, less than 40 minutes later as we opened it at the nearby plaza to check out the contents) and was told by staff that they would not exchange, refund, or offer store credit for the defective game, and that, quote "our policy is that it's the customer's responsibility to deal with the companies on their own if there's something wrong with the product". Disgusted to discover that their policy is literally 'buyer beware' and will be taking my business elsewhere to a place that actually gives a damn about their customers and who are willing to take responsibility for selling shoddy products.
Bob Gentles / June 27, 2013 at 05:42 pm
When I handed them my credit card, the staff goofed on my name for several minutes.
Greg / July 16, 2013 at 03:17 pm
Point blank: this new location is a horrible reminder of how Toronto's greatest neighbourhood landmarks (SAM The record man, Flo's Diner, and Silver Snail) are victims to uncontrolled condo development and greed.

The old location was like a destination point, a home for any type of collector.

The new location - smells like Five Guys Hamburgers.

Never going back.

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FranCastle / August 31, 2014 at 01:56 pm
I found their comics and action figures to expensive. The staff to depressing. Would it hurt to crack a smile..lol
Mai / October 18, 2014 at 02:04 pm
Silver Snail is one of my favourite places in Toronto to get comics and I try to go there at least once a month. The staff is mega friendly and totally willing to order anything you want that they don't have in stock. Its one of the only comic shops i don't feel intimidated going into and can save a couple $$ bc they sell stuff at US prices. Plus, it always smells like coffee! (s/o to black canary's poison ivy mocha)
LadyCobra / December 20, 2014 at 09:43 am
My husband and I go back to this place quite a bit for the tabletop gaming selection, but I have had to put up with chauvinistic guys at the register who insult both me and my husband with comments (not to mention having to watch the female coworkers roll their eyes but say nothing).
For the most part though, visits have been "normal" not good, not bad.
For manga and comic books I almost always go to the HairyTarantula across the street. It still has a steep set of stairs to get in but I prefer the geek-to-geek service. ^_^
Jeff / February 16, 2015 at 03:26 am
Saw some negative comments and i thought i would write a nice review. It may not be my all time favourite shop, but I do love the atmosphere here. I find the staff helpful on recommending trying out new titles, and the prices on the comics fair. I enjoy my time when I'm there browsing
Jango / April 8, 2015 at 12:54 pm
Since they've (thankfully) done away with the bag-check policy they had at the old store, which was a horrible way of saying "You're a thief, dear customer. We don't know you, but we expect you to steal"....the new location is a TAD better.

But the staff still really doesn't care much. I've had a few interactions and only the women who work there are of any help. Cashier or otherwise, the only two times I found employees helpful, they were the women...the guys who work here are still pretentious jerks most of the time.

Lastly the layout is only moderately better than Queen st. The new Releases are unencumbered at the front of the store and (for the most part) are easy to see and grab.

That said, the back issue bins are designed the same way as the old store, as a middle island with the bins (which are packed to the gills and crammed in so you can't REALLY search them easily) pulling outwards. This creates basically a teeny tiny path to get by to see stuff on the walls or get around someone who has a drawer pulled out. Multiply this factor if it's even REMOTELY busy. If it's busy, good luck getting anywhere.

Basically the layout is in dire need of fixing. This whole island of back issues in the middle of the store (again, a feature carried over from the Queen St. location) is BEYOND stupid. The best thing they could do is line one whole long wall with the back issue bins and free up space in the middle for walking and browsing. I don't know who designed it, but it's terribad as it stands. Oh, and as a result of this stupid island, try finding where to line up to pay if it's busy...

seriously, the layout is awful.

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