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Obey The Prime Directive: 5 Reasons You Should Check Out Fan Expo 2015
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Obey The Prime Directive: 5 Reasons You Should Check Out Fan Expo 2015

Picture of Sasha Erfanian
Updated: 27 September 2016
Between September 3-6, the Metro Toronto Convention Centre will be overflowing with crowds of caped cosplayers, eager nerds, and more than a few celebrities when Fan Expo swoops down once again. Dubbed ‘Comic-Con North,’ Fan Expo has been Canada’s Mecca of geekdom for the past twenty-one years. Featuring hundreds of exhibitors, dozens of panels, and autograph signings, there’s something fun and exciting for everyone, even if they were dragged into it by their little sister.
Nathan Fillion (Firefly) signing autographs | © mediatonicpr/Flickr
Nathan Fillion (Firefly) signing autographs | © mediatonicpr/Flickr

Celebrity Guests

Ever wanted to meet Draco Malfoy, Hannibal the Cannibal, or the evil kid from A Clockwork Orange without fear of bodily harm? Luckily, Tom Felton, Mads Mikkelsen, and Malcolm McDowell will all be available for autographs and photos at this year’s expo, along with dozens of other actors, voice actors, and comic creators. If an autograph isn’t enough, there’s also the Breakfast With the Stars event. Share eggs with the Weasley Twins (James and Oliver Phelps), waffles with Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) and even sausages with Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen) in support of SickKids.

Stan Lee posing with cosplayers | © mediatonicpr/Flickr photo credit Billy Lazarou
Stan Lee posing with cosplayers | © mediatonicpr/Flickr photo credit Billy Lazarou

Cosplayers

For some it’s not enough to just love a character, they need to become them. Cosplayers do more than just show up in costume; they spend weeks designing and creating their outfits, from sewing spandex to choosing the material for their capes. See their hard work come to fruition and even ask for a picture. Attend the Cosplay Masquerade to see contestants get into character and compete for prizes and bragging rights. Fan Expo will also host professional cosplayers like LeeAnna Vamp and Toronto Batman. As always, the Toronto Steampunk Society will be on hand with a wide variety of workshops ranging from Steampunk 101 to Steampunk Tea Duels.

Swag

With 400 000 square feet of exhibitor space, be prepared for a deluge of awesome deals on collectables and memorabilia, from rare comic books and specialty artwork to lovingly crafted statuettes and lightsaber replicas so real we couldn’t conscionably recommend getting them too close to someone’s eye. If you don’t want to carry a katana on the subway, check out Fan Expo’s stunning selection of exclusive swag. However, keep in mind, Fan Expo is probably the only time of the year you can carry a katana on the TTC without anyone pulling the alarm.

Zachary Quinto (Heroes) addressing a crowd | © mediatonicpr/Flickr
Zachary Quinto (Heroes) addressing a crowd | © mediatonicpr/Flickr

Panels

For people who go to comic conventions for the actual comics, Fan Expo has a wide variety of industry panels and workshops where aspiring writers and artists can learn how to create and market their own work and even get their portfolios reviewed by pros like Dexter Vines and Ed McGuinness.

Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead) and several Poison Ivies | © mediatonicpr/Flickr
Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead) and several Poison Ivies | © mediatonicpr/Flickr

For everyone else, there are things like sketch duels and the artist’s alley, where they can commission pictures of their favourite characters and even a live-read of Back To The Future with A-List voice actors like Nolan North (Nathan Drake) and Grey DeLisle (Princess Azula). Whovians won’t want to miss An Evening With the Doctor’s Companions where Billie Piper, Jenna Coleman, and Karen Gillan talk about what it’s like to be part of Britain’s most impenetrable sci-fi phenomenon.

Party Like a Geek

The party doesn’t end once the convention centre closes. As wild and hectic as the expo itself is, the craziness pales in comparison to what goes on at the various after-parties. Check out the Kick-Off party on Thursday September 3rd at the swanky EFS Club and the official after-party at Brassaii Lounge on Friday September 4th. Sadly on September 5th partiers will be forced to choose between the ghoulish delights of the Horror Howl at the Revival featuring the Goth Rock of Cadillacs and Cadavers or the neon pleasures of the Retro Glow Party at the Royal York with beats by DJ Lazarus. If interested, tickets can be bought here.

Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 222 Bremner Blvd, Toronto, ON, Canada, + 1 416 585 8000

Sasha Erfanian Dow is a recent graduate of Carleton University. Follow him on Twitter or check out his blog That’s Not a Moon Game Reviews to learn about the Marxist subtext of the Mushroom Kingdom.