Fan Expo Canada is Canada’s biggest and North America’s 3rd largest event of its kind. This annual event features 5 genres in one gigantic event; Comic, Anime, Science Fiction, Horror and Gaming.
This past weekend I traveled to Fan Expo Canada to take in the crowds, the panels, and try out some games/systems I had only heard about since E3. Having visited FanExpo in the past my experiences have always been sensational and knowing that, like most patrons, I was exuberant to be attending again at Fan Expo 2010.
The list of characters appearing FanExpo this year included (but was not limited to) Felicia Day of “The Guild”, Victor Lucas of “The Electric Playground”, and Yoshitaka Amano, artist behind “Final Fantasy.”
With over 47, 000 people and over 600 exhibitors in attendance in 2008, the expo has continued to grow and grow and this year fans with pre purchased tickets were turned away on Saturday afternoon for fear of overcrowding (official 2010 numbers have not yet been releases). The visitors waiting outside were told that the north building of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre was at full capacity and the scene on the inside was just as frustrating.
In the early afternoon I exited a panel discussion in the north building’s first floor and made my way to the escalators, which was the only method of accessing the upper area of the venue, only to be forced to wait for over an hour with hundreds of others who were ALL in good spirits. Admiring each other’s cosplay and talking about upcoming movies and new comics, the crowd was patient and frustrated but never surly. In true Canadian fashion, the crowd tried to accommodate visitors with young children and passed word quickly though the crowd about the overcapacity issues and our current status.
The expo encountered similar problems with food vendors and line ups at exhibitor booths as well as panel discussions. Packing your patience was an important element in enjoying this year’s Fan Expo Canada. But in spite of all of the hustle, bustle, and sweaty costumes everyone had a GREAT time.
The event was larger than ever, thus showing the city that, yes, even nerds know how to have fun.
Comic Book Cosplay
While Fan Expo Canada 2010 may have been the busiest expo I’ve attended and certainly one of the more frustrating, I still came away satisfied and full of gamer glee. The folks who were not granted admittance however, are looking for compensation and have banned together to make their voices heard.
Due to their collective voice the president of Hobby Star Marketing released the following official apology today to everyone involved with this year’s expo:
On behalf of the staff of Fan Expo Canada™ I would like to apologize for the lengthy delays and inconvenience experienced by many at Fan Expo Canada™ this past weekend. We were, quite simply, inadequately prepared for the increased crowds in a venue that was neither familiar to us nor not capable of meeting our collective demands. We recognize and have heard from many of you that this was unacceptable and unfair to our loyal fans.
The staff at Fan Expo have been and will continue to read and act upon the concerns communicated by our fans about Fan Expo 2010. In preparation for Fan Expo Canada™ 2011, we have already confirmed a booking of the entire South Metro Toronto Convention Centre. This will be the largest area ever used for our show and its layout is far better suited to the size and nature of our event. We are also committed to the communication of key practices for ticket purchases, show access and other related logistics effectively and well in advance of the 2011 show. In addition, we intend to engage all of the event stakeholders as we work through the planning process including: staff, fans, venue, security, Fire & Emergency Services, Tourism Toronto and the City of Toronto in this process.
We appreciate the continued support of each fan, and are grateful to have fans who are willing to take the time and effort to help improve the “Fan Expo Experience”. Again we sincerely apologize to the fans that were unable to enjoy the full experience of Fan Expo 2010. Please know that we welcome your feedback and suggestions for how we can improve the fan experience. Please forward your comments to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aman Gupta and the Fan Expo Canada Team
President and CEO
Hobby Star Marketing, Inc.
Fan Expo Canada Toronto, Hobby Star Marketing, MyaSharona