When I was a teenager, one of the great adventures I would undertake was the exploration of downtown Toronto. Although my primary target was generally the Silver Snail (the only comic shop I knew about at the time), my wanderings would take me far and wide across the expansive urban landscape in search of video games and nerd paraphernalia.
Over a decade later, I’m still roaming the city: always on the look out for new hangouts and shops. Although I don’t consider myself an authoritative source on the city’s gaming scene or comic culture, I thought I’d try and put together a guide to some of the best nerd locales in Toronto. It is still very much a work in progress, but it is now populated with enough content that I’m comfortable sharing it with the world.
I’ve embedded it below, but you’ll probably want to full screen it since tiny Google Maps are infuriating.
What are the guidelines for this project? Nothing too stringent, but I tried to follow these basic criteria:
- All locations had to be related to gaming, comics, or sci-fi/fantasy in some way.
- Generally speaking: public, commercial shops are preferred.
- Locations must be in the downtown core, along the subway line, or in another reasonably accessible location.
As for the little blurbs that I use to describe the shops: I tried to keep them descriptive, succinct, and with only a little bit of room for editorializing. Most of my commentary is in regards to pricing, location, and general atmosphere. I’ll rarely go in depth about whether a location is worth a visit, and I definitely don’t plan on assigning ratings or grades. You want that kind of data? Go to Yelp.
Feedback is welcome, especially for those from the Toronto area. I’m quite aware that I’m missing a bevy of shops – especially on the west end, which remains a mystery to me – so I’m more than happy to field (friendly) suggestions. Just give me a shout via email.
Why I am making this? I think it is half OCD, and half wanting to help visitors and newcomers to Toronto access the city’s vibrant nerd scene. It is exactly the kind of thing I would have loved to have when I started my awkward, teenage sojourn so many years ago.