Question: You’re a comic book geek currently visiting in Toronto, and you’ll be heading down to San Diego Comic-Con soon. What do you do?
Answer: Go on a Pilgrim-age, of course!
I figured that since I was in the area it’d be cool to show all you Scottaholics out there the real life versions (you can’t say inspirations since they’re actual places) of the places of interest in Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim series. There should be a second part coming up soon, but until then, away we go!
I walked mainly in a bit of a loop, West from Union Station and then North to Sneaky Dee’s, before continuing further North to Honest Ed’s, Pizza Pizza and Sonic Boom at Bloor St. East again to get to the Toronto Library and then South to Dundas Square and the Bus Station. This was all primarily within the downtown area and the loop is definitely walkable, although you might not want to try it (it probably took me 3-4 hrs).
Sneaky Dee’s, Book 4
I literally stumbled on to this. Located at the corner of College and Blathurst St, Sneaky Dee’s is within walking distance to the U of Toronto, which probably explains the relatively low meal prices… and the fact that the food is pretty plentiful. Feel free to grab a meal here if you want the Scott Pilgrim/College experience, and if you want to experience pretty cool tex-mex graffitti.
Honest Ed’s, Book 3
Honest Ed’s is a surreal version of the Black Hole. It is so big and so huge and so…. much of a monolith that you can’t help but feel sucked into it. And once you get in, you’re stuck. During my visit, where was one whole wall of gold, silver and coloured Elvis Presley busts. A weaker mind could honestly go insane in there.
To be honest, when I read the comic I thought that the cuckoo clock was just ‘artistic license’. I was struck dumb when I realised that there was really a cuckoo clock like that, and that the deer really stared at you with the craaaaaaAAAaaaazy eye. Don’t look at it too long: In it lies madness.
Sonic Boom, Book 2
Further evidence as to the space warping properties of Honest Ed’s; Sonic Boom is more or less only a block down from Honest Ed’s and yet I spent 10-20 minutes looking for the place in every directions. I was literally disoriented when I exited that firghtening place. And I totally forgot about Pizza Pizza, which was supposed to be around the corner.
Sonic Boom is much like in the comic, rows and rows of music and CDs. Missing was the odour of crushing and pink love smoke; Knive must have been somewhere else that day.
Toronto Reference Library, Book 2
I think Bryan Lee O’Malley must have been sketching out the panels for the library when he was literally in the library; it’s that accurate. Especially the inside.
The metal art sculpture is a lot smaller than I thought it would be though, I guess Ramona forgot to put her bit back after her fight with Knives.
Toronto Bus Station, Book 5
Packed and seedy, just like most Bus Stations I know. I was out during a heatwave (and boy do I know how Scott Pilgrim was feeling during that summer heatwave, I felt like I was about to charbroil inside my skin), and the only good thing was that the Bus Station is relatively close to the underground PATH system, Dundas Square, Eaton centre and air conditioned bliss.
Dundas Square, Book 3
The end of the day’s tour (in a loop around the centre of Toronto), Dundas Square is an open space for events, that seems to be populated mainly by buskers and… can I say haranguers? I apologise for the inability for me to get much higher than street level. I believe that the signs and adverts are out of bounds to everyone except love-sick ninjas.
Random point, but as an all-round geek it made my day to see the new season of Doctor Who (with Matt Smith) advertised in Dundas.
And that’s it for my day one Scott Pilgrim Tour of Toronto. Another day will be to the slightly more out of the way locations like Dufferin, Casa Loma and the Beaches (out of way = taking streetcars and the like). These are not exactly well planned out tours, if you want to figure out how exactly to get there, there are some good sites for you to check out, including Toronto Post and Acts of Minor treason, who also did his own Pilgrimage with Mad5l5in5, as well as Krista’s Flickr of her Pilgrim Tour.