Monday, 11 April 2011

Toronto's Silver Snail to leave Queen Street West

Toronto's Silver Snail to leave Queen Street WestCory Doctorow at 7:25 AM Sunday, Apr 10, 2011 
The Silver Snail, Toronto's iconic Queen Street West comic shop, has sold up and is moving to new digs. The owner is selling to the wonderful George Zotti, who's been manager there for for years and years. The Snail was practically the last shop left on that stretch of Queen Street from its glory days, before it became, essentially, a megabrand mall selling the same junk you could buy at the Eaton Centre. Things are still interesting as you push further west on Queen Street, but the whole road is fast turning into a blighted corporate wasteland -- a kind of extended strip mall.
No word yet on where the Silver Snail is moving to, but I'm betting they end up in the Annex, nearby the great new digs that Bakka Books (the old science fiction bookstore that used to be situated across from the Snail) has ended up in on Harbord Street.
 The vibrant, cavernous store will remain on Queen St. W. until at least February 2012. But it will move to a new neighbourhood, says Zotti.
"Queen Street is not the book-friendly place it used to be," he says. "If you want shoes or $300 jeans, it's a good place to go. It's lost that browsing, literary feel it used to have."
The store is legendary for hosting indie artists as well as comic book royalty -- including Simpsons creator Matt Groening and Sandman writer Neil Gaiman -- at store events. With its proximity to Much Music, it's also had drop-ins from a litany of celebrities with comic fetishes, including KISS's Gene Simmons, actor Robin Williams, Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics and Burton Cummings of the Guess Who.
"We've opened the store early so Harrison Ford and his kids could shop," says Zotti, who has worked at the store on and off since he was 15. "Mark Hamill came in when I was 18."
Then there was the Friday afternoon Bob Dylan strolled in.

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