JASON (JAY) BARDYLA
Jay founded Happy Harbor Comics in May of 1999 after working and managing other comic shops since 1990. When Happy Harbor (HH) relocated from Jasper, AB to Edmonton in 2005, it quickly became a community standard for small businesses with their charity support and involvement as well as for their building of a new audience of comic fans. The also strove to bring back lapsed readers while hosting a base for the local creative talent to come together and support each other!
Through several innovative initiatives Jay elevated HH to international award recognized status. In 2007 he was named Outstanding Canadian Comic Book Retailer at the Joe Shuster Awards for the work done to promote the medium.
In 2012 the store was recognized globally as having the best All-Ages section through the Diamond Comics Best Practices awards.
In 2015 they received the Edmonton Mayor’s Art Award for innovative support with the Comics Artist-in-Residence Program, the first of its kind in Canada.
Also in 2015 Jay was recognized with the National Philanthropy Day Education Award for the work done in schools to promote literacy and arts. This led to another Diamond Best practices Award in 2017 for Best School/Library Program for HH’s Comic Book Fair Program.
On top of all of this, HH was named Edmonton’s favourite comic store 10 times between 2007 and 2018. There were many other recognitions through the store’s work with local agencies, not to mention the media attention for great causes and the money donated to those causes! HH did more than just sell comics.
HH had its final day on December 31, 2018 but Jay continues to support schools and libraries as the Programming Director for Drawn To Books, speaking at as many conferences that will have him, and assist folks with their personal collections, either to insure them or for resale.