Fan Expo is Canada’s largest multi-genre convention. Held for four days in September, the convention promotes celebrities, vendors and artists. It also offers organizations a great opportunity to network and promote themselves.
This year’s groups will be offering everything from panels and workshops, to photo ops and a chance to help charity. So let’s take a look at who is going to be out and about this year…
The 501st Canadian Garrison
The 501st is probably one of the most recognizable groups at a convention, with their prominent booth, group photos and marches. They are also very involved with charitable causes. As usual, the 501st will be raising funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Drop by their booth to take part in their Bucket Raffle, Photo Op donations, Blast a Trooper or just say hello (and pass along a toonie or two). Oh, I did ask if there was anything special going on and this is what I was told…
“Will there be new stuff? Oh yes. Can I tell you? Oh no. Will it be awesome? Oh… Yes.”
(I tried to get more info but the Jedi mind trick doesn’t work through the internet 😉 )
Doctor Who Society of Canada (DWSC)
Another well-known group is the Doctor Who Society of Canada. Like the 501st, these folks are not only fans but use their group to give back to the community. Here you will find the TARDIS and can get your picture taken with the Doctor and his companions. Make sure that you drop by their booth to see what they have to offer this year. You can also check the schedule for workshops and panels. Remember to keep your distance when the Daleks take to the floor with their daily march.
Horror Writers Association (HWA)
Sponsors of the annual Bram Stoker Awards (http://horror.org/awards/stokers.htm) The Horror Writers Association is the oldest professional organization supporting writers and publishers of the genre. They can be seen at conventions, trade shows and literary festivals throughout the year. Sèphera Giron, the head of the Toronto chapter, gave me the lowdown on what the HWA will be up to at Fan Expo….
“HWA will have several panels this year which will include some of our authors such as Kelley Armstrong and Nancy Kilpatrick.
I personally am still hammering out my own presentations but for sure I’m giving one on Crystal Balls which will feature my personal Scorching Ball that has been to Lizzie Borden’s house, with Lovecraft’s Grave dirt, the Borden’s Grave dirt and some flesh from horror authors who handled it in the scorching hot sun (hence the name!) Last year at Fan Expo, people were excited to touch it at my Tarot Cards panel when I showed it and I also had it displayed at my tarot reading booth. I’m taking it back to Lizzie’s and Lovecraft’s in a couple of weeks so it will have fresh new dirt and flesh and ghosts in it! I will likely also give a presentation on The History of Freak Shows and another on The History of Witches.
Nancy Kilpatrick is giving a presentation on cemeteries and she’s preparing a writers workshop.”
The Ontario Ghostbusters
With the release of the new movie this group will be getting lots of attention this year. This cosplay group, like the others, attends conventions to not only celebrate their favourite movie but also the raise money for charity. Keep an eye out for ECTO-1 and stop by to support their charities, The Canadian Women’s Foundation and Street Cats.
Toronto Steampunk Society
The Toronto Steampunk Society has become a familiar sight at Fan Expo with their incredible costumes and inspired cosplayers. Stop by their booth and check out their workshops on prop building and costuming, and no Steampunk event would be complete without a good duel or two. Check the schedule for Tea duels, Parasol duels, and Nerf duels. Don’t forget about the Lancers Dance as well!
Ontario DCU (DC Universe)
If you have even been to Fan Expo on a Saturday, this sight should be familiar to you. The Ontario DCU promotes all things DC with a large group of cosplayers who can be seen throughout the convention. They also perform charity work throughout the year and would be happy to give you any information about their charity work and upcoming events. Once again, they will be doing their popular group photo shoot on Saturday so keep an eye out for them!
KAG – Klingon Assault Group
KAG logo Ontario’s Crimson Knight Fleet
Expect to see KAG out in full force this year with the arrival of Star Trek alumni Nichelle Nicols, George Takei, William Shatner, Brent Spiner and Kate Mulgrew plus the creator of the Klingon Dictionary, Dr. Marc Okrand. They will be taking part in celebrating 50 years of Star Trek and will raising support for Kids Help Phone. Look out for some amazing JLA/Klingon cosplay mashups with Klingon Superman, Klingon Wonder Woman, as well as others.
Check out Fan Expo’s Organizations section for links to these groups’ social media sites and watch the Attractions and Schedule sections for more details.
Text © Written In Geek blog (2016) All rights reserved
Pictures © Written In Geek blog or used with subject’s permission (2016)