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A Nerdy Guide to Vancouver Island’s Best Shops for Pop Culture

This nerdy guide to shopping on Vancouver Island is a work in progress which lists places visitors to Vancouver Island can check out for any particular popular culture craving. This index is by no means complete, as there’s most likely a few not as well-known. This list does not include franchise businesses like EB Games. We are encouraging those coming to this fair city to buy locally.

If there’s an operation not listed, please either comment or send us an email so we can update. This document is broken into separate ‘pages’ / sections. Please note the page number count tucked in the bottom to read.

(Close to Johnson & Broad Street)

Cherry Bomb Toys /
National Toy Museum of Canada

Toys (Barbie, Star Wars, Transformers, GI Joe & Many More!), LEGO, Vinyl Records, Used Videos

1410 Broad Street
Hours: 10am to 6pm
Phone: (250) 385-8697

This operation specializes in carrying a diverse range of product for everyone of all ages. From products for young girls, like Barbie, to collectible products (like original packaging G.I. Joe), if you name it, that item might be hiding here! Not only is it the only place to find a few arcade games (cabinets and pinball) but also it’s the home to an always growing toy museum! This exhibit is located on the second floor and it spotlights the history of many a playful product from the past 100 or so years.

If you look carefully, you can find also props used from certain television series, namely Stargate SG-1.

Curious Comics

Comic Supplies, Comics, FUNKO Pop!, Graphic Novels,
Illustration Books, Models, T-shirts, Toys

631 Johnson Street (Victoria-location)
Hours: 9:30am to 6pm
Phone: (250) 384-1656

844 Goldstream Avenue (Langford location)
Hours: 10am – 6pm
Phone: (250) 592-1656

3200 Unit 6 Island Highway (Nanaimo BC location)
Hours: 10am to 6pm
Phone: (250) 756-2157

With three locations to serve most of Vancouver Island, Curious Comics makes up the heart of Nerd Row in Victoria, BC. Stepping in here is a paradise of goodies. From CGC certified comics to Walking Dead merchandise, a lot of collectible franchise properties can be found here. Yes, they also sell a limited selection of board and role-playing games.

Games Workshop

Dice, Miniatures & Associated Branded Supplies, Wargaming

625 Johnson Street
Hours: 11am to 6pm (Closed Mon, Tues)
Phone: (250) 388-3696

Technically a big box operation, this business deserves a special place as having been part of the local nerd scene for a long time. Games like Blood Bowl and Lord of the Rings shows how well this company rules them all. Their prices, say what you will, has to pay for the licensing they have to pony up to maintain their high quality of miniature building and craftsmanship.

Legends Comics

Comics (current & silver age), Graphic Novels, Illustration Books

633 Johnson Street
Hours: 12pm to 6pm
Phone: (250) 388-3696

Coming into this bookstore to find that gift for the comic book enthusiast is a must. The diversity is huge, and the selection is a mix of rustic to modern. The love for the medium can be seen everywhere. Books are organized by publisher and artist! For the true collector, co-owner Gareth does have a side operation to preview the truly vintage material. An appointment is required. He also runs workshops for up and coming artists of all ages (mostly youth).

Quazar’s Arcade

Vintage Arcade games, Pinball Games

1215 Government Street (Trounce Alley; stairs down)
Hours: Noon to 8pm
Phone: (778) 433-7411

Remember the days of visiting an arcade center to play the latest in cabinet style arcade games or play pinball? They are not gone with this operation replacing a former art studio, once a tattoo shop and the storefront to Absolute Underground Magazine. They just moved to better digs or just do not need the space anymore. Found here is one of a handful of cabinets featuring a rare game: Fix-It-Felix from the Wreck it Ralph movie! Other games include Atari’s Centipede and even the latest Terminator: Salvation shoot ’em up. In the pinball front are AC/DC Pro, Medieval Madness and Attack from Mars!

This place plans on offering game tournaments and special events. Announcements will be made through their newsletter.

Yellowjacket Comics

Magic the Gathering, Card Supplies, Comics

688 Broughton St
Hours: 10am to 6pm
Phone: (250) 480-0049

This place is better known as one of two places to buy your Magic the Gathering cards, old and new, and all the supplies related to it. Walking by this place may seem scary to some since it’s card central than comics, but they still have space to sport the mainstream titles than to carry a wide range. Plus, it is the place downtown to sit down to play a game or two of MtG. They host daily evening events.

Board with Friends Cafe

705 Johnson St

Hours:  Sunday 11am – 12 am
Mon-Fri: 4–11pm
Sat, Sun: 11 am – 12 am
Phone: (778) 745-3036

This cafe is new to the scene and is locally owned and operated. They specialize in board games and good food! When their competition looks packed, a simple hop and skip is required to check out this operation! Plus, they have a stay and play package starting at $5!



Need your Dungeons & Dragons? The Vorpal Gnome (relocating, please check Facebook for updates) has one heck of a selection! Coming here to dungeon crawl is a must.

Cavity Curiosity Shop

Used Books, Underground Music, Punk Rock

2514 Douglas St
Hours: 12pm to 5pm (closed Mon, Tues)
Phone:  (250) 381-9857

Cavity replaces what Absolute Underground Magazine’s store offered: curious goods, unique art, spray paint (no, they do not endorse graffiti) and goods for would be wizards. The wide range of product ranging from books to music (punk rock, heavy metal) shows this operation is in the hub of the alternative music scene. Some are obscure and others are not. But this operation is a curiosity shop for a reason. You never know what you can find!

Escape Room Experiences

There’s two fun filled haunts for those who love puzzle solving while the clock is running. Horror Escape (523 Broughton) offers a dose of terror as you make your way through tiny houses, and Quest Reality (1121 Wharf Street) plays with other themes so even UFOlogists and Adventure Seekers can attempt to leave with the prize! Technically, there’s no gift shop for a momento, but party goers can get a snapshot of their experience before or after with their smartphone to commemorate their time here.

Epic Games & More

Used Video Games, Consoles & Arcade

2612 Quadra St
Hours: 10am to 7pm
Phone: (250) 590-3532

Although this operation looks bigger because it has a larger library of product to display, the distinction this business has is in the fact it is the home for several standing coin-operated arcade games. Good people run this operation too and plenty of parking can be found nearby in Quadra Village.

When compared to other stores carrying Nintendo licensed product, Fan Favourites has the biggest selection!

Fan Favourites Games & Movies

Used Video Games, DVDs, Nintendo

760 Yates St
Hours: 11am to 6pm
Phone: (250) 361-4447

This operation loves Nintendo and this family run business has a vibe which makes the folks here at Otakunoculture regularly coming back! Our interview with the operators can be read here, and what they offer is a bit of everything for the anime, film and video game enthusiast. They tend to get in titles that the big shops don’t often see, so it’s worth popping in to look at their used video selection.

They are fellow nerds and offer great after-support for the refurbished consoles sold here.

Interactivity Board Game Cafe

723 Yates St
Hours: 11am to midnight
Phone: (250) 480-3979

This business is a great place for residents in the city to come to wind down at after work. The selection of games is excellent and folks can have a bite to go with that roll of a die.

Infusion XR- Arcade

535 Yates St #103

Hours: 12pm to 8pm (booking required)
Phone: (778) 265-8338
Anyone wanting a dose of virtual reality can visit Infusion’s arcade! They offer the most popular games for those who aren’t ready to dive into investing into a home system, and the list rotates as new products come out. A full list can be found on their website and it’s quite comprehensive. It’s safe to say a Sony’s PlayStation VR system just doesn’t cut it sometimes, and to truly experience what this fad is like does require room scale integration.

Red Dragon Dice

Susie Dancer loves dice just as much as she enjoys board gaming. Her passion was borne at an early age. She sees them like jewelry since they can be any colour of the rainbow and the shapes they come in are also a delight for many a crystal enthusiast! In addition to bringing in a wide selection of this essential role-playing/card game product, she has dice bins and funky tokens for gamers to customize their gameplay. Plans are in the works to bring in (custom) dice bags, meeples (board game people shaped tokens) and jewelry.

Orders are done through Facebook as this operation is a hobby business. She has plans to eventually expand, but for now, if you are looking for a specific colour and/or a polyhedron, this place is it! Their Facebook page is:

Russell Books

Used Sci-fi & Fantasy Fiction

734 Fort Street
Hours: 9am to 6pm
Phone: (250) 361-4447

The avid reader will find Russell Books and their overstock store, Books on View, a great place to find used books. If they do not have it on the shelf, the product can be ordered in.

The Turntable

#3-107 Fan Tan Alley
Hours: 10am to 5:30pm
Phone: (250) 382-5543

Vinyl record enthusiasts have the choice of this shop in this city’s version of Diagon, er Fan Tan Alley in Chinatown or Ditch Records & CD’s (784 Fort Street) to get their funk on for music in a format only audiophiles will appreciate.

It is tough to say which is better. Both have their loyal customer base.

Triple Play Sports and Games

Sports Card Collectibles, Board Games, Magic the Gathering and Pokemon

1209 Wharf St
Hours: 10am to 9pm
Phone: (250) 384-3311

Tucked by the waterfront near the Inner Harbour is the new location of an operation once based within the municipality of Esquimalt. When they moved into town last year, this business had a loyal customer base from the nearby military base and they followed. Originally, the owners focused on sports memorabilia but when trading card games became popular, expanding the operation to include crossover product was a no-brainer. In some of their Magic the Gathering nights, they have a prize wheel so everyone has a chance to come home with a product.


BC Shaver & Hobbies

Model Building, Hobby Supplies 

Hillside Mall
1644 Hillside Ave

Hours: 9:30 to 9:00pm (Weds to Fri)
9:30 to 5:30pm (other days)

Not only does this operation help gentlemen keep their beards well groomed, but they are also model building and railroad hobbyists! They have moved away from the Downtown location to this place to better serve the community. They also expanded their line to include more options for those who like to work with their hands and build. Gundam, LEGO and Star Wars models are just a sampling of what people can find here.

Gauntlet Games

Board Games, Trading Card, RPG Supplies

1633 Hillside Ave #103
Hours: 2pm to 10pm
Phone: (778) 265-5556

This store brings new meaning to what the shopping center near the University of Victoria represents when it first opened. They’re since moved but still ranks as close to both this campus and Camosun now! Over the many years, Dragonstrike Comics and Johnny Zee’s (a video game arcade) occupied parts of the mall, but no nerdy place could remain for long. Even a video game rental outlet opened shop here and did not stay long.

This operation hopes to change all that by wanting to be a presence for the community of Gordon Head (check out our article about its beginnings here) and introduce gaming culture to those who have not been inside a shop before. With large windows allowing the outside to peek in, the curious may wonder if the squadrons from Star Wars: X-Wing can take down the Imperial fleet. Trading card games like Pokemon and Magic the Gathering are regularly played here.

Hang and Play Games

Used Video Games & Consoles, Used Videos

Hometech Games Plus

Used Video Games & Consoles, Used Videos
30 Burnside Rd W.
Hours: 9:30am to 6pm

Sometimes hitting every used video game shop in town, like the above two, helps in locating that hard to find used game instead of going to eBay. Nobody likes the crazy shipping and handling costs.

Skyhaven Games

Board Games, Card Games, and Role Playing

3458 Tillicum Rd
Hours: 11am to 10pm (closed Mondays)
Phone: (250) 477-1519

Located in the Tillicum Mall Hub, this operation is home for many nerds living nearby to play their card or RPG games in the evening. They keep up with the popular games of the season and host tournaments. Their selection is diverse enough to include bootlegs of some anime soundtracks and products coming from Hong Kong than Japan. Recent visits have shown that this operation does not have them on display, but they might still be hiding in a corner.

Victoria Costumes

7060 W Saanich Rd
Brentwood Bay
Phone:  (250) 896-0781

Need a costume? Not everyone can make their own Spider-Man suit, and Tony Stark is not always available to help the average joe out. Well, he sort of does these days in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but if folks are looking to dress up for Halloween or just want to brighten their kid’s birthday with a surprise visit from Batman, this by appoint only (home-based) costume rental operation is the place to hit. Yes, they have plenty of Santa suits available too.


Nerds live everywhere on this beautiful island located West of the Rockies. The concentration may not be as big, but to know where to shop is just as important too for those relocating to these townships for one reason or another.

Dice Bag Games

Card Games, Board Games, Dice & Miniatures

Address: 360 Festubert St #102, Duncan, BC V9L 2P4
Hours: 11am to 6pm (closed Mondays)
Phone: (250) 597-1992

Everything Games

Board Games, Trading Card Games

Address: 721 Station Ave, Langford, BC
Hours: 2 to 9pm
Phone: (778) 432-4263

This operation caters to those living in the outer communities in Westshore (Langford / Colwood) by offering a place for gamers to gather in. Sometimes the commute to downtown Victoria is too lengthy to get enough hours of play in. They also have an extensive online ordering system for those who are deep into the game of Magic the Gathering. This trading card game is showing no signs of slowing down, and to have a local operation going on strong and not competing with other operations like Skyhaven and Yellowjacket, shows the gaming community has many places for players to get their game on. Their event schedule includes Warhammer 40K.

Groundd Games

Card games, Roleplaying and Board games

Address: 2220 Bowen Rd, Nanaimo, BC
Hours: 11am to 9pm (Sun to Sat)
Phone: (250) 758-1484

Wiffle Games

Video Games, Toys (LEGO), Comics, Modified Consoles

Address: 9756D Willow Street, Chemainus, BC
Hours: 10:00 am to ???
Phone: (250) 597-1992

West Coast Gaming

Board Games, Trading Card Games, Roleplaying Games, Gaming Accessories

Address: 10-2980 Island Highway North, Nanaimo, BC
Hours: 12pm to ???
Phone: (250) 585-4263

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