Yeah, that’s a lot of people – and this is just a section of the North building.
Another year, another FanExpo – and this time around the organizers decided to use the entire convention center (finally), expanding to the North and South buildings (finally) of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. While the crowd and space improvements were definitely noticeable, I was actually more amazed at how they ever fit Fan Expo in just the South building in previous years. It really is a testament to the Fan Expo crowd that some sort of massive disaster (ie. fights, arguments, mass exodus etc.) has never broken out in the years prior to 2013, because seriously – how did we all fit in there?
Room to breathe!
For long-time attendees, the layout of the South building did not change much this year. Most of the space was taken up by the usual merchandisers, Artist Alley, big booths (i.e. Microsoft, Sony, Showcase, etc.), and food vendors. I suspect that most of the space that opened up was given to the big corporate names (fair enough) and to the new food vendors. Artist Alley and the merchandise aisles were still jammed – but significantly less compared to last year. Traffic really slows down at the celebrity autograph booths, and moving that into its own section in the North building was a very smart move by the organisers. I will try to stop harping on the lines and crowd issues at Fan Expo – I recognize that it is going to happen, so let’s move on to the event itself.
I entered the convention from the North building and immediately the TMZ portion of my brain got really excited. Linda Hamilton! Norman Reedus! Nathan Fillion! Dean Cain! David Hasselhoff! Zachary Quinto! Just like Tina Fey says:
Tina Fey, I couldn’t agree more. One part of my brain thinks “They’re just people, relax”, but the other part thinks “OMG Zachary Quinto is so good looking!”. This exchange inside my head becomes even more exhausting as I try to navigate the crowds to get to the only escalator that will allow me to get to the South building. However, TMZ takes over again and I find myself lingering in the North building for a long time. “Keep walking, OOH GEORGE TAKEI!”. I finally make it to the footbridge for the South building, and the non-TMZ portion of my brain regains control of my body. 2013 was definitely a stellar year for featured guests at FanExpo.
Norman Reedus: Too Cool for School.
Finally! Some alternatives to Pizza Pizza! We actually got to see some of the food truck trends in Toronto come into Fan Expo. Aside from our annual mainstay of Pizza Pizza, Fan Expo’ers had the additional options of Metro Hotdogs, crepes, Gourmet Gringos, Hank Daddy’s BBQ, fish and chips, and Japanese food. There was even a decent coffee stand (praise Jebus!).
In a somewhat controversial move, Fan Expo added famous athletes to their roster this year, and a big chunk of the North building was set aside for sports fans to meet their heroes. With featured guests like Doug Gilmore, Bobby Orr, Joe Sakic, and Martin Brodeur, it was pretty impressive; but I am not convinced that the amount of space devoted to this was the best use of square footage. There was a huge 501st Legion and Doctor Who display nearby that could have really used more room. The few times I passed by the Sports Expo, it was relatively quiet and a stark contrast to the crowds and madness in the other areas. I imagine that a lot of work went into expanding Fan Expo this year, not only to just address spacing issues, but to actually improve the event so that it is not the same every year. Adding sports to FanExpo was a step in the right direction to try something different, but I have a feeling that it will be revamped for 2014.
The Doctor Who Society of Canada.
The Vistek Booth.
Jack White on Rocksmith 2014 – can’t WAIT!
Local pride and joy, Capybara Games
Hard at work.
Amazing Ninja Turtles LEGO display.
If you could divide the FanExpo crowd into “Active Participants” and “Lurkers”, I would definitely fall into the lurker category. I don’t dress up, but I definitely appreciate those that do. Each year the costumes seem to get better in quality and more varied in their origins.
Cool costume bro. Seriously.
I don’t pay extra for the meet-and-greets, nor do I lineup for the panels; and I generally appreciate the amazing talents in Artist Alley from afar. I’ll pick up a few pieces here and there to support artists, but most of the merchandise that I want can be purchased elsewhere or online. Sometimes I wonder why I enjoy Fan Expo so much – but I guess that is the point. Fans and fandoms of all shapes and sizes converge for a weekend, and whether you are like me, or are a cosplaying master, there is something for you to enjoy. The underlying commonality we have is that we are all fans of something (and many things), and at Fan Expo you are free to express that however you like…
Greendale’s Human Being.
…also: celebrities! Just sayin’.
Finally, the real heroes of any con: people who play dancing games in public.
For more of Jarita’s photos, check out her flickr set.
Other articles from Fan Expo Canada 2013 can be found at this link.