Fan Expo Canada 2014

Metro Toronto Convention Centre
August 28 to 31, 2014


So it seems that once again, fan Expo will be a one day event for myself. I once again be there with camera gear and cards in hand combing the isles for cosplay photos.

Thursday August 28th, 2014

We're proud to host some of @MrMarkMaia twitter photos from Fan Expo with permission.

Friday August 29th, 2014

 

My day started early ... WAY early, getting up at 2:30am to catch the 4:35am run for Toronto. As things would have it, the bus from Windsor was packed so we ended up boarding another bus. Remembering to pack my travel pillow so I manage to get back some of the sleep lost. Still as dawn light came we were closing onto Toronto. With construction at Union Station, I got off a block past the Royal York Hotel and had to walk back to one of my favorite Timmies in Toronto. There I could access the wifi because I could not on the Greyhound.

Front and Centre

   

For some reason the first photographs and the last are special to me. This year was no exception. A Doctor Who fan ... a YOUNG Docotor Who fan indeed. Given that when I was taking photos at Fan Expo 14 years ago, any Dr. Who fan was way older than this guy. heck chances are he wasn't even born when I was first at CN Anime years ago.

 

Once again those who were buying tickets were sent past the South Hall to South Loading Dock. So much for what was marked 'Registration' on the map. I walked towards the SkyDome.. er Rogered Centre down the stairs to cross the street

Train of thought

     

I took some time to enjoy the park museum of trains before heading to South Loading Dock and the line up which at the time wasn't bad.

 

Once again the winding walk down the South Loading Dock. Once again the fumes as trucks and vechicles passed. Once again the annoying wristband. (Less annoying since I only had to wear it for one day and was made of paper/fibre. Crowds, as time past, grew and the handling of the lines went well with holding area for those who paid, cash or debit ahead of 10am openingrather than wait til 10am. The only gripe was there was no one to take the forms which we all filled out.

Fan Expo wristband

Joust Do It

   

Medieval Times

The first booth I encountered was Medieval Times booth. My first exposure was at The Gathering, and Lord of the Rings themed convention years ago.

LEGO

 

One thing you can count at Fan Expo is LEGO's massive builds. However most are nothing more than 3D print using LEGO blocks.

     

There was the usual attractions of Batman but also Guardians of the Galaxy characters stood out as well as Shredder. Full size Batcycle was cool as well.

 

League of Legends

 

I was just getting into League of Legends booth when I noticed something missing. The travel charm which hangs off my camera for the past decade was gone! It was ill omen giving the age of my camera and the batteies failing to hold their charge. I panic since this was a treasure sent from a friend from Japan. With luck I traced back my steps to the spot where the staff and sandels part of the charm lay. No where was the tiny bell which properly rolled to who knows where. I placed the lost part of the charm in my pocket. There was nothing else I could do other than waste a day looking for something I will never find. It only drove home the need for a new digital camera. I have been shopping for a replacement for SD300 for years. Not only do I have to take the price of the camera into consideration but also extra batteries and cards. Also what video format and quality factors in.

As it stood I spent little time at League of Legends booth which was cool. I'm sorry I couldn't spend more time there.

Food court

The food court was really packed at any time I was there. Maybe it was the price of 3 bucks for simple can of coke.

Gaming room

 

The gaming room was well used.


It was time to head for a break and the North Hall...

Down to a single battery this early in the day, I headed to the North Building.

North Hall

 

Rue Morgue was in the North Hall this year. It might surprise some that Festival of Fear is not run by Hobbystar nor the new company that is taken over. It's a seperate company that works with Fan Expo and manages it. Sports too was under the same deal but they decided not this year.

 

I headed to Tim Hortons north of Fan Expo... only to find it had no power outlets at all. I ended back at Timmies back at Royal York for an ice coffee and donut while my remaining camera battery recharged. This killed LOT of time I could have spent at Fan Expo. Usually this Tim Hortons had lots of cosplayers going through. Maybe it was the time of day but I got one photo.

I headed back for hot dog before heading back in. Fan Expo now has a tiered system as opposed to being a fan of one genre or another with seperate entrances and lounges for Premium and VIP passes. In past it was just day or weekend passes based on genre where anime fans only having weekend passes. People have to money to burn and Fan Expo for many is their EVENT of the year for them. So this trend is here to stay.

Cosplaying... goes Pro!

After all these years, cosplay finally goes pro. What? Sounds almost like a paradox. Many of the very same cosplayers I took photos of years ago have their own cards or even their own booths at cons now. Not only has the quality of cosplay gone through the roof but the quality of photographers applying their trade keeping up to the demand.

 

Queen of Hearts, Waterloo, Ontario

Props and wigs have become a big staple of cosplay. Queen of Hearts has heat style-able wigs. A BIG step forward.

         

Many of the PRO cosplayers at Fan Expo.

What I mean by 'PRO' is that they have one or more of the following:

  • a portfolio
  • their own business cards for themselves or for a cosplay group
  • make money off their cosplay
  • a guest at a convention
  • Mind you anyone can argue what a pro at cosplay means. It's a young genre previously masquerades judge what was good or not. Now it seems there is a career track for those whose who gain highest standard of masquerade master class. I glad at least for this. Many early groups just faded aftermaking that top rung and disappeared.

    Peep Show T.O.

    Not all pro cosplay is just for show.. or showing more than just costumes. Peep show T.O. takes cosplay to Burlesque side. While some might not approve it has become to being as cosplay make further inroads into society there is always those dark alleys along the way. ;)

    Clap for the Wolfcop!

    Chances are one of the most impressive displays was unexpected. I took one look at WolfCop two page spread in the book I received in the mail and rolled my eyes... clich horror flick. Still WolfCop display just blew me away.

     

    I knew enough from other panel in Sci-Fi that FULL makeup is to be feared. Stories of an actress being called in because the original actress left the studio screaming, never to return. I even had a makeup artist friend do a face cast of myself for a project I since long forgotten about. Though I could breath, I was finding myself freaking out.

    Yet, here was Lou Farard in a standard chair, sleeping as the makeup artist was in the middle of 2 hours of applying full blown werewolf makeup ... and the chair didn't even reclined. I'm uncomfortable sitting on bus for 2 hours and the seat reclines. Yet this guy was sleeping through it all.


    Aug 29, 2014 | Actor Leo Fafard being transformed into #WolfCop at #FanExpo2014 by AnimeLondon

    Just Dance

     

    I manage to capture one video gaming session using Vine and Keek. Though one of the girl was embarrassed when I handed her my card and told her. I'm beginning to like Vine and Keek though there is some problems with Keek I'm not liking. It makes it practical to take short videos which would be impractical with regular digital camera or camcorder.


    Aug 29, 2014 | Just Dance 2015 @ #FanExpo2014 by AnimeLondon on Keek.com

    Fan Expo is for...

     

    There is the kid in all of us... but for kids it's all of them, Fan Expo is one huge party of fun. particually these two kids. One was morth and daughter who got a photo op with other Disney cosplayers. The other was as I shared an elevator with father and son. The difference was the son was in wheelchair. As we left his eyes lit up as he saw a group of cosplayers with one in mechanized steampunk wheelchair. There is always plenty of superheros cosplay but someone he could relate to. Needless to say, Fan Expo is for everybody.

    It's the end of day...

     

    It didn't take long for people to pack up for the day.

    With Friends like These....

    Running late as usual, I couldn't help taking one last photo... then another... then.. Opps.

    Andrew and Rosanne were waiting outside the Tim Hortons. we headed for Queen for HOSU, one of my favorite place to eat. Appetizers themselves are a meal in themself. Had a great time since I haven't seen them since AnimeNorth set it's attendance cap. Afterward we headed to Younge and Toronto Eaton Centre. A band was playing the park... how much had changed. With all the video boards, the place was starting to look like Times Square.

     

    Our luck with Starbucks was they were always 15 minutes to close. There was always Tim Hortons... that is if it weren't for the fact, Andrew and Rosanne had already bought their Starbucks. I had my mug so I filled up for the trip home and then headed for bus station.

     

    I asked for a parting picture... I got strange looks... literally. It was Andrew and Rosanne tradition of punking farewell photos. They pulled it off with a friend who was going to Japan. I tried to get some normal pose from them.... hold hands.  Palm2face... I gave up and wished them well.

    I caught the 10:30pm milkrun to London. Packed with frequent stops as lights were turned on as people boarded or disembarked. Wifi worked but not a single outlet to be found. Gave one guy one of my few remaining Fan Expo cards. "Oh good I was so busy doing stuff I have little photos." Then I realized why I haven't really enjoyed Fan Expo because I was too busy recording everything that was going on.

    Back in London where I start quarter to 2am. I couldn't get to a Tim Hortons since dinning room closes 1am. I manage to upload one keek video when my iPod Touch powered off. I ended at 24hrs McDonalds waiting for battery to charge so I could finished uploading Keek and Vine videos. With that I headed home to bed. It was past 24 hours up straight with little nap time on the bus to Toronto.

    Thanks to all I met at Fan Expo. maybe next year, Fan Expo will give me a media pass so I can really over the event... for 15th year.