Being a gigantic geek, one of my first priorities while exploring the city of Toronto was to find the best nerd sanctuaries. Video game boutiques, comic book shops and traditional PnP/board game stores were all within my purview. Through my years of exploring I have found a wide variety locations; ranging from well known locales to hole-in-the-wall, diamonds in the rough.
For the benefit of all my fellow Canadian dweebs out there, I have compiled my list of the top hot-spots in Toronto. For post number one, I explored some of the great locations found in The Annex region of the city. The week after, I focused in on three gaming locales found scattered around the downtown core.
This week I’ll be listing off a couple very popular locations that people would likely harass me for not mentioning.
What can I really say about The Silver Snail? It is by far the most famous nerd emporium in the city, and over its 35+ year existence it has been visited by movie stars, famous authors and prolific artists. Located on the once bookish but now trendy Queen Street West, it holds one of the greatest collections of nerd paraphenalia in the world.
But with great fame comes a fair bit of pretensiousness. Going into the Silver Snail means dealing with the occasional snobby clerk, who clearly thinks that working at a Toronto landmark is a greatly venerated position. Looking beyond the customer service, the shop’s selection is quite good and the floorspace is among the best organized in Toronto.
Prices could be a bit better, but I guess rent on Queen Street ain’t as cheap as it used to be. I hope the rumours of a move up to Bloor Street are confirmed, as that would solidify the Annex as “nerd central” in Toronto.
Snakes and Lattes is a relatively new cafe located up on Bloor Street in Toronto, and received astronomical amounts of press upon opening. The concept? Take a traditional coffee shop and throw in a wide selection of board games, available for customers to play for a small cover fee.
And just to be clear: when I say a “wide selection of board games” I really mean it. Long wooden shelves line the walls with hundreds of titles. Pretty much any game you can think of is available, including classics such as Monopoly and newer sensations such as Settlers of Catan.
Although the food and service has only gotten middling reviews, Snakes and Lattes must be doing something right. Reservations are needed to grab a table (especially on weekends), and crowds frequently form at the front door asking about table availability. Give a call ahead if you want to try it out, and except big crowds at peak hours.