Con Diaries

Fan Expo Con Diary: Day 1

Fan Expo North Building crowdThere’s nothing like seeing a Stormtrooper in your subway car to wake one up on a muggy Friday morning.

Even as Toronto residents poured out of the city for Labour Day weekend, Fan Expo Canada pulled thousands into the Metro Toronto Convention Centre for four days of panels and celebrities from comics, science-fiction/fantasy, anime, and horror. I entered the maze of booths and fans on Friday afternoon, emerging a little more battered than expected on Sunday, but with some cool new art to hang on the walls of my new house.

Thanks to summer hours, I got to run down to the MTCC around 2 pm, though actually entering the convention area was a little more complicated than expected. As the convention has grown more popular, it’s expanded to include the North Building of the MTCC (originally restricted to the South Building). Signage directing attendees was not as prominent as it could have been, leading me to walk the entire length of the North Building before being told wristband pickup was up the ramp on the east side.

Fan Expo 2014 - Doctor Who Society boothThe con floor itself was more overwhelming than it had felt in previous years, despite panel attendees being shuffled out to wait in line outside. Much of the North Building was devoted to horror booths and the celebrity autograph/photo op areas. That’s one logistical decision I appreciated, as I was once an autograph line volunteer and had first-hand experience of the traffic jams they could cause on the floor.

Artist Alley was much more manageable now that the bigger exhibitors had lots of space, and I got to spend some time chatting with a few artists, both new and returning. This was Masae Seki‘s first Expo, and the first year animation student’s use of bright colours pulled me over to her booth almost immediately after I stepped into the Alley. I especially loved seeing her Rapunzel/Flynn and Anna/Kristoff postcards. I also got to chat with Leslie Gauthier, whose mini paintings caught my eye among all the comic and anime art prints.

Fan Expo 2014 - Mockingjay Part 1 booth

I didn’t spend too much time wandering the floor, as I had to make it to Arthur Darvill’s panel at 3:30. Sadly, when I finally managed to find the line, it had already stretched from one end of the building to the other, and another 90 minutes of waiting in the heat was not going to be good for my health. I resolved to hydrate better for Saturday, and headed out.