This past weekend I had to opportunity to attend Fan Expo Canada in Toronto, Canada. Held every August, Fan Expo Canada is a convention that takes place the weekend before Labour Day weekend. A gathering of gaming, comics, anime, horror films and other pop culture elements, the Expo is the largest such convention in Canada, drawing thousands upon thousands of people to the Metro Convention Centre to share their passion for all things geek.
When I first laid eyes on the show floor I was in awe of just how large this convention is. Having attended only once before in 2010, I was surprised to see how big it has become. Walking up and down the aisles, I was overwhelmed at the amount of booths. There was Artist Alley, lined with crafters and comic book artists peddling their wares, as well as vendors selling unique t-shirts and figurines, and of course the hall was filled with many eager to spend their money on a piece of fandom. Large booths from Marvel and DC Comics, with stages for costume contests and artist appearances were also prevalant. Displays from Mega Bloks and Hasbro, displaying many toys for young and old could also been seen.
Finally, let us not forget the celebrities from TV, movies, and video games, all who were signing autographs and posing for picture opportunities.
I was there really for one reason. Much to my delight, gaming had a much larger presence then it has in the past, with booths from Microsoft, Sony, Ubisoft, THQ, Warner Brothers, Disney and EB Games. Demos from many highly anticipated titles were playable, and these booths held some of the largest crowds in the convention centre, with many eagerly waiting to play the latest and greatest that are to come out soon.
Throughout the weekend, numerous discussion panels and question and answer sessions were held, connecting fans and enthusiast with artists, celebrities and industry professionals. I had the opportunity to attend a few of the gaming panels, notably, a very inspirational discussion with Jeyson Acevedo, Public Relations Manager for Ubisoft Canada. During his lively panel, “Why Not? – From Gaming Enthusiast to Gaming Pro”, Jay told his story, how he made his way from simply blogging about his love for gaming, to becoming editor-in-chief for a fellow Canadian online publication (gamefocus.ca), and with hard work, sacrifice and great passion, he was able to acquire a much sought after position in the gaming industry.
Fondly known as Comic Con North, this event truly is a spectacular celebration that is comparable to the large conventions held in the U.S. From the booths, the cosplay, and all the celebrities, attending Fan Expo Canada makes the pilgrimage to Toronto every summer an unforgettable experience. I for one look forward to the next one that I can attend.