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Silver Snail Gets a New Home

Silver Snail comics, a long-time Queen Street fixture, has found a new home in a new neighbourhood.

It's even silver, kind of. The Silver Snail's new home, in the old HMV at 329 Yonge Street.

After months of searching, the Silver Snail has found a new shell.

The popular comics-and-more shop will be leaving its Queen West storefront of 36 years to move to a second-floor location steps from Yonge and Dundas Square, at 329 Yonge Street, where its owners hope to have it open for business by July 1 at the latest. The Silver Snail will continue to operate at its popular Queen West location until then.

Silver Snail’s owner, George Zotti, began to lay plans for the move when he found out that the store’s Queen West building had been sold for redevelopment. At first, he eyed the Annex for a potential new location, but eventually realized that the neighbourhood wasn’t a good fit. “The whole idea was to find an area that we liked with a space that we liked. We [really] liked the Annex, but we couldn’t find anything,” said Zotti. “Everything was really small—like 1,400 square feet, or something like that—or used to be a restaurant. To make a restaurant not a restaurant is very expensive.”

Zotti hopes the Yonge property, which faces Edward Street, will enable the store to take advantage of the area’s high pedestrian traffic and its proximity to the Eaton Centre, Ryerson University, and Dundas Station. Previously, commuting customers rode the Queen streetcar to Soho Street, or made the short walk from Osgoode Station.

“We saw the space, and, you know, you can’t get more ‘heart of the city’ than Yonge and Dundas,” Zotti said.

Recent tenants at 329 Yonge have included a clothing store and a large HMV, the latter of which is still in business. (It consolidated its floor plan, and now operates out of a storefront to the south.)

“Currently, at Queen Street, we have 2,700 feet of retail floor space,” said Zotti. “This new location will be 3,300 square feet, only on one floor. It’s very long, and much wider than the back of the [Queen] store is right now.”

The Snail will be sharing the neighborhood with the World’s Biggest Bookstore, BMV, and the Indigo in the Eaton Center, along with more specialized shops like 401 Games and One Million Comix. The competition would not be any less fierce in the Annex: that neighbourhood has The Beguiling, a well-known comic and graphic-novel shop, as well as a BMV with a large comics section on its third floor.

Zotti hopes to have the new Silver Snail up and running before the summer months, with as little transition time as possible.

Matt Demers is a Toronto freelancer who writes about comics, pop culture, and other nerdy things. You can find him on Twitter and his website.

CORRECTION: April 11, 2012, 5:20 P.M. This article originally said that the HMV that had once been a tenant at 329 Yonge Street “moved next door.” In fact the HMV had previously occupied the next-door storefront, but had once operated out of 329 Yonge Street as well. The article has been amended accordingly, and has also been edited to clarify the reason for Silver Snail’s move.


  • Jonathan McKinnell

    Wow, brilliant move on their part! Well definitely be checking this out when they move in.

  • John

    The Snail’s new neighbourhood also includes the Hairy Tarantula.

    • Arthur Hanks

      I’ll take the Hairy T.

      • Gnarlk

        ugh, worst place ever….

  • Anonymous

    The Annex also includes the Labyrinth across from BMV.

    • Mo

      And the Beguiling.

      • Anonymous

        The Beguiling was mentioned in the article, the Labyrinth was not.

  • bud latanville

    Best of Luck, Silver Snail!

    (Just occurred to me: within the HMV corporation, the 333 Yonge location was known by two designations: Store #825, and “TSS” (for “Toronto SuperStore”), which can also be an abbr. of “The Silver Snail”

    Let’s hope Yonge is kinder to them than it was to Bakka Books for the few years it was on The Longest Street in the World.

  • Anonymous

    Reminds me of Midtown Comics in Times Square in New York City.

    • Nhaste

      It will be exactly like midtown comics except that that place is only gone to by Comic Enthusiasts. The Snail currently enjoys tons of people who aren’t comic book collectors. I am think George wants more pedastrian foot traffic and this could be a mistake.

  • Sean Ward

    Hell yeah. I wouldn’t have dreamed this up but I’m glad they did. it’s a brilliant move. Very ‘New York’ to put the store there.

    • Jacob

      I wasn’t predicting this, but that’s also what I was thinking when I read it.

      I wonder how much of their current clientele will follow them out there. Yonge and Dundas has a very different atmosphere than Queen West.

      In any case, Citytv will have one of their old neighbours nearby again.

  •!/ David R. Schmitt

    Congrats! I see a bright future for the shop. Hopefully this exposure will draw even more celebrity guests to the store for FCBD and other occasions.

  • Leland Haslan

    I’ll still be going to One Million Comix first. It’s a ten minute walk north of this new location and it’s well worth it.

    • Gr8shazam

      Whats worth it about One Million? THe place is definately over priced…Even compared to the Snail

      • Leland Haslan

        To compare how the prices are jacked up is ridiculous. 1MC is constantly having 25% off sales and has a *LIFE-TIME* membership of 20% everything in the store for merely $20 or so. Besides the staff of 1MC will actually attend to your needs and look things up if they are unable to help you. I wish I could say the same for SS.

        • Gr8shazam

          Well, I am glad you work for 1MC. My experience there was much different. Looking for a comic that guided for 5 dollars and the old guy in the back wanted to charge me 20 bucks. The place ain’t great. I have never had a problem at the Snail that way. I’m glad you paid an extra 20 bucks to get things at normal price. Money well spent

          • Leland Haslan

            I don’t and thats a fact. I’m just loyal to them. Just as loyal as you are to the Snail.

          • ilango

            One Million is pretty good for new comics, free bags and boards, friendly staff. The bins are lacking in golden age stuff, plus the toys are bit over priced. Which is why I shop around.

            I’m happy to have another store on yonge street. Especially the snail, I’m going to miss the queen street location.

      • Anonymous

        I’ve only been to One Million once. On Free Comic Book Day. They didn’t participate.

        • Anonymous

          Maybe because the event wasn’t profitable for them (they have to buy these ‘free’ books, then give them away to the customers, with no real profit unless said customers buy a book that’s not one of the free ones), and the store is quite small?

    • Guest

      I don’t find One Million Comix to be very tidy or clean at all.

    • Johna Batman

      One Million is great! It’s less pretentious than the Snail, and they give out free bags and boards with each comic you buy.

      • Anonymous

        If you want ‘pretentious’, I’d think that the Beguiling would be the place, since most of the books sold there (on the first floor) is all the non-superhero literature that’s snapped up by serious literary critics (from imprints like Fantagraphics and Vertigo.)

        At any rate, I still like both stores (I’m just kidding on the ‘pretentious’ part about the Beguiling) and am glad that neither will be in the same radius, since I don’t want to see either driven out of business by competition-the Hairy Tarantula sells to a different clientele than the Snail does anyway, and One Million Comix is eight blocks away,so there should be no competition on their part with the Silver Snail. Also, the thing not mentioned about this (which I’ll bet would make a certain local activist quite happy, since he hates how Yonge St. has become covered in chain stores) is that a non-chain store is setting up shop on the Yonge St. Strip.

        So, all in all, massive win for everybody concerned.

  • Daryl C. Collison

    Looks like the Hairy Tarantula (354 1/2 Yonge) has a new neighbor!

  • Daryl Fritz

    I thought I had read a comment once that rent was too high for them on Queen St. A move to Yonge/Dundas hardly seems logical. (However, I can’t find anything to back my claim up)

  • Rob Vellone

    This is great news. What a perfect fit! Congratulations, George! :)

  • best guest

    I thought they moved out of Queen West because that stretch of it was becoming too commercialized? If that’s the case, moving to Yonge and Dundas is a strange thing to do.

    • Anonymous

      I thought the building was being sold out from under them and they had to move.

      • Matt Demers

        From Torontoist’s previous article:
        “He sold the business to me and then he sold the building to a development corporation—because, unfortunately, you don’t become a millionaire by selling a comic book store, you become a millionaire by selling property on Queen Street.”

  • Sean Kelly

    The HMV didn’t move. They decided last year to partition half of the main floor into a separate store (a sign of the digital age eating into the sales of physical media – they don’t need as much inventory now)

  • Anonymous

    OHMYFRAKKING GODS!!! Yay! Great news!

  • Hamish Grant

    HMV didn’t ‘move next door’, they downsized to their original footprint at #333… got a bit too big for their britches, it seems, another victim of the iPod.

    In any event, nice to see the Snail moving to a prime retail location.

    • Bakerpocky

      The entire building HMV are presently occupying is for rent.

    • ACME Sales Rep.

      In all fairness, HMV did make a go of the 333 Yonge store plus the 329 Yonge annex for, what, close to twenty years?

  • Kai

    Good luck in your new location Silver Snail! We love you and will miss seeing you when we walk along Queen West.

  • Trish Cassling

    A location change won’t stop me from coming in. Good luck in the new location.

  • ANON

    The Beguiling will always be superior, no matter where SS moves.

  • Jess

    Yay! I can’t wait to go.

  • Michelle

    Damn, I really miss the graphic novel selection of Gray Region, the hidden gem that now is a pizza shop.

    • Anonymous

      I miss the toys and model kits that the store had just as much.

    • Karsten

      Grey Region was great- right up until the day that the owner closed up for the night, sent the employees home, then came back and emptied the place and put a CLOSED sign on the door, without so much as a warning to anyone.

  • bluedragonx

    I like the move. If I’m ever downtown, I usually hang out around the Yonge and Dundas area.

  • Bob

    Fuck silver snail and their staff.

    • Anonymous

      Pardon my asking, but what did they do to you?

  • Marco

    I am not to sure about this move i think it’s going to be to expensive for them in the long run, hopefully they keep shelling out these comic book films and they keep exploding and making tons of money cause that means good things for the store, wish them luck. In the mean time someone needs to open a comic store in mississauga that isn’t in squareone.

    • Anonymous

      That would have been possible if Mississauga had been built and planned properly from the start (downtown core built at Lake Ontario, and then radiated northward)-then you’d have a proper downtown area to have stores in, including Square One.

  • joes

    The Snail can’t compete with the BMV across the street. Why would I pay $4.00 for a comic when I can buy one at BMV for $1.00 or $1.50. Most new comics that come out can be found at BMV sooner or later.

  • dillybar geena

    sell comics to help me and my bf to masturbate more. i love u all.