Fan Expo Canada

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Fan Expo Canada
Fan Expo Canada logo
Status Active
Genre Multigenre
Venue Metro Toronto Convention Centre
Location(s) Toronto
Country Canada
Inaugurated 1995
Attendance 91,000 in 2012
Organized by Informa Canada Inc
Filing status Corporate
Website
http://www.fanexpocanada.com/

Toronto, Canada's Fan Expo Canada is an annual multi-genre fan convention. It was founded as the Canadian National Comic Book Expo in 1994 by Hobby Star Marketing Inc. It is a four-day event (Thursday through Sunday) typically held the weekend before Labour Day during the summer at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC).

Originally showcasing comic books, science fiction/fantasy and film/television and related popular arts, Fan Expo Canada has expanded over the years to include a larger range of pop culture and fandom elements, such as horror, anime, manga, animation, toys, collectible card games, video games and web entertainment. The convention is the largest of its kind in Canada and among the largest in world, filling the entire South Building of the MTCC with 91,000 attendees in 2012.

In 2013, Fan Expo Canada's parent company Hobby Star Marketing was acquired by Informa Canada Inc, which now organizes the event.[1]

Programming[edit]

Along with panels, seminars, and workshops with comic book professionals, there are previews of upcoming feature films, portfolio review sessions with top comic book and video game companies, and evening events such as the Masquerade (a costume contest), special screenings and the Diamond Distribution Industry Night Dinner and Reception for industry professionals only.

Traditional events include screening rooms devoted to Japanese animation, gaming, and over 300 hours of other programming on all aspects of comic books and popular culture.

Like most comic book conventions, Fan Expo Canada features a large floorspace for exhibitors. These include media companies such as movie studios and TV networks, as well as comic book dealers and collectibles merchants. Fan Expo Canada also includes a large autographs area, as well as an Artists Alley where comic book artists can sign autographs and sell or do free sketches.

Exclusive collectibles[edit]

In recent years, Fan Expo Canada has become one of the few events that provides selling "exclusive" products to attendees. The vast majority of the exclusives offered at Fan Expo Canada are licensed properties of popular movie, comic book and related characters.

History, locations and dates[edit]

Dates Location Attendance Notable guests Notes
August 12–13, 1995 Roy Thomson Hall Est. 1400 J. Scott Campbell, Kelley Jones, Joe Jusko, Bill Sienkiewicz, Bernie Wrightson, Brian Hotton, Stephen Platt, Ken Lashley, Ty Templeton Titled: Canadian National Comic Book Exposition
1996 Holiday Inn on King (now Hyatt) Est. 2900 Dale Keown, Adam Hughes, Stuart Immonen, Pat Lee, Ken Lashley, Mike Zeck, Dave Ross Titled: Canadian National Comic Book Exposition
1997 Metro Toronto Convention Centre Est. 3800 Marc Silvestri, Dwayne Turner, Carlos Pacheco, Dale Keown, David Wohl, Rich Buckler Titled: Canadian National Comic Book Exposition
June 26–28, 1998 Metro Toronto Convention Centre 6778 Joe Quesada, Greg Capullo, Joseph Michael Linsner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Humberto Ramos, Christina Z, Amanda Conner, Chester Brown, Joe Matt, Seth First appearance of CNAnime brand, representing Canadian National Anime Expo.
August 27–29, 1999 Metro Toronto Convention Centre 9620 Jeri Ryan, Kevin Smith, Kenny Baker, Warwick Davis, Lou Ferrigno, Joe Quesada, Michael Turner, Mark Waid, Leinil Francis Yu, Keu Cha, C. B. Cebulski First appearance of SFX brand, representing the Canadian National Science Fiction Expo. Ray Park is under contract, but does not attend resulting in a lawsuit.
August 25–27, 2000 Metro Toronto Convention Centre 12,763 Jonathan Frakes, Anthony Head, Roxann Dawson, Hudson Leick, Jeremy Bulloch, Richard Biggs, Peter David, Chris Claremont, Barry Windsor-Smith, Adam Kubert, David Finch (comics), Jae Lee, Brian Michael Bendis, the entire cast of Earth: Final Conflict Headliner James Marsters cancels due to professional work and is replaced by co-star Anthony Head.
August 24–26, 2001 Metro Toronto Convention Centre 15,359 William Shatner, James Doohan, Peter Mayhew, Traci Lords, Ethan Phillips, Ted Raimi, Ian Churchill, Jeph Loeb, Carlos Pacheco, Mika Akitaka, Scott McNeil Canadian National Expo master brand first appears.
August 23–25, 2002 Metro Toronto Convention Centre 16,600 Brent Spiner, Nicholas Brendon, Nichelle Nichols, John Billingsley, Billy Dee Williams, Andy Hallett, Adam Kubert, Joe Kubert, John Romita, Jr., John Cassaday, Darwyn Cooke. Titled: Canadian National Expo featuring SFX and CNAnime.
August 22–24, 2003 Metro Toronto Convention Centre 20,655 Leonard Nimoy, Ray Park (see notes), Adrian Rayment & Neil Rayment Twins (The Matrix), J. August Richards, Connor Trinneer, Denise Crosby, Brian Michael Bendis, Francisco Herrera, Ed McGuinness, Ken Steacy, Darwyn Cooke, Josh Blaylock, Fred Gallagher Ray Park appears at SFX at his own expense as part of an out of court settlement brought by Hobby Star Marketing Inc. for his non-appearance at SFX 1999.
August 27–29, 2004 Metro Toronto Convention Centre 27,684 Patrick Stewart (see notes), George Takei, Julie Benz, Peter Mayhew, Mercedes McNab, Anthony Montgomery, Aron Eisenberg, Cirroc Lofton, George A. Romero, Tom Savini, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Doug Bradley, Yoshitoshi ABe, Yasuyuki Ueda, George Pérez, Brian Azzarello, Mike Deodato, Rags Morales, Skottie Young, Adam Hughes, David W. Mack, Jill Thompson Rue Morgue Festival of Fear joins the Canadian National Expo as a feature event. Patrick Stewart postpones due to life threatening heart condition. He returns to Toronto, September 25, 2004 to make it up to fans. Masquerade event moves to the John Bassett Theatre and becomes the largest in Canada. Retailer arrested on show floor for selling numerous illegal weapons including throwing stars, nunchaku, one handed crossbows and brass knuckles Link to resource site with news video. The Expo also suffers an hour long black out on Sunday afternoon.
August 26–28, 2005 Metro Toronto Convention Centre 39,753 Elijah Wood, Clive Barker, Gary Gygax, James Marsters, Kevin Sorbo, Crispin Glover, Marina Sirtis, Adam Baldwin, Erica Durance, Margot Kidder, Kenny Baker, Elvira, J. Michael Straczynski, Frank Quitely, Mark Bagley, Greg Land, Neal Adams, Jhonen Vasquez, Peter Laird. GX Gaming Expo brand first appears as a feature event. Attendance reaches facility limit and Toronto Fire Marshall's office halts ticket sales on Saturday afternoon.
September 1–3, 2006 Metro Toronto Convention Centre 42,947 William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Carrie Fisher, Alice Cooper, Linda Blair, James Callis, Gates McFadden, Robert Picardo, Jeffrey Combs, Verne Troyer, Karen Black, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Brian Michael Bendis, Geoff Johns, Ethan Van Sciver, Mike Mignola, Roman Dirge, Josh Middleton Canadian National Expo re-branded as Fan Expo Canada. The show outgrows the North Building of the MTCC and moves to the much larger South Building. Behavior of show organizers prompt creation of StopHobbystar website (now defunct).
August 24–26, 2007 Metro Toronto Convention Centre 43,738 Adam West, Jonathan Frakes, Tricia Helfer, David Prowse, Malcolm McDowell, Robert Beltran, Dwight Shultz, Dario Argento, Adrienne Barbeau, John Romita, Jr. and John Romita, Sr., Greg Pak, Olivier Coipel, Simone Bianchi, Paul Dini, Steve McNiven, David Finch (comics), Michael Turner, Frank Quitely, Dale Eaglesham. World Series of Video Games partners with Fan Expo Canada to hold the largest live video game tournament ever held in Canada.
August 22–24, 2008 Metro Toronto Convention Centre 44,500 Buzz Aldrin, Kate Mulgrew, Edward James Olmos, Brent Spiner, Michael Rosenbaum, Sean Astin, Laura Vandervoort, Renee O'Connor, Kristy Swanson, Jeremy Bulloch, Henry Winkler, Michael Easton, Aaron Douglas, Tobe Hooper, John Saxon, Wes Craven, Sid Haig, Brad Dourif, Ruggero Deodato, Tura Satana, Shawnee Smith, Bruce McDonald, Hugh Dillon, Alex Ross. Brian Bolland. Tim Sale, Mark Bagley, Peter David, Matt Fraction, Gabriele Dell'Otto, Marko Djurdjević, Cliff Chiang, Georges Jeanty, Alex Maleev, Keith Giffen, J. Scott Campbell, Adam Hughes, Steve McNiven, Ethan Van Sciver, Kevin Eastman, Bob Layton, Angel Medina (artist), Dexter Vines, Vic Mignogna, Derek Stephen Prince, Johnny Yong Bosch, Michelle Ruff, Richard Ian Cox, Victor Lucas, Jon Jacobs, Donna Mei-Ling Park. Major League Gaming (MLG) replaces World Series of Video Games as partner for GX feature of Fan Expo Canada. Introduction of the "Hollywood Icon" guest label (for Henry Winkler).
August 28–30, 2009 Metro Toronto Convention Centre 59,000 Leonard Nimoy, Bruce Campbell, Linda Hamilton, Thomas Dekker, Avery Brooks, Beau Bridges, Mary McDonnell, Billy Dee Williams, Walter Koenig, James Kyson Lee, Robert Duncan McNeill, Emma Caulfield, Lou Ferrigno, Dave Thomas, Leslie Nielsen, Larry Thomas, J. Michael Straczynski, Roger Corman, Udo Kier, Barbara Steele, James Duval, Max Brooks, Rick Green, Jack Ketchum, Joe Quesada, Chris Bachalo, Mike Deodato, Jr., Ethan Van Sciver, Ivan Reis, Terry Dodson, David Finch, Olivier Coipel, Len Wein, Bill Sienkiewicz, Stuart Immonen, Yoshinori Ono, Scott McNeil, Crispin Freeman, Brad Swaile, Colleen Clinkenbeard, Aaron Dismuke, Monica Rial, Derek Stephen Prince, Steve Downes, Victor Lucas, Lil Poison, Scott C. Jones, and surprise guest Tobin Bell (unannounced). Fan Expo Canada reveals its first Title Sponsor with Rogers High Speed Internet.

"Hollywood Icon" Celebrity guest Tony Curtis cancels due to health issue. Attendance reaches facility limit and Toronto Fire Marshal's office halts ticket sales for two hours on Saturday afternoon.

August 27–29, 2010 Metro Toronto Convention Centre 64,000 William Shatner, Adam West, Burt Ward, Julie Newmar, James Marsters, Stan Lee, Felicia Day, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Michael Dorn, Peter Mayhew, Bruce Boxleitner, David Blue, Summer Glau, Michelle Forbes, Tahmoh Penikett, Dean Stockwell, Daniel Cudmore, Ernest Borgnine, Ryan Robbins, David Cronenberg, Lance Henriksen, Ken Russell, Bill Moseley, William Forsythe, Heather Langenkamp, El Hijo del Santo, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Anna Silk, Charles Band, Gary Frank, Andy Kubert, Adam Kubert, Olivier Coipel, Steve McNiven, Ethan Van Sciver, Doug Mahnke, Dan DiDio, C. B. Cebulski, Brian Azzarello, Darwyn Cooke, Bob Layton, Tim Bradstreet, Alex Maleev, Ian Churchill, Jill Thompson, Jim Valentino, Chris Sprouse, Yanick Paquette, Cameron Stewart, Jeff Lemire, Yoshitaka Amano, Ogata Megumi, Vic Mignogna, Johnny Yong Bosch, Brad Swaile, Jamie Marchi, Jason Deline, Victor Lucas, Scott Jones, Tommy Tallarico, Jarett Cale, Geoff Lapaire, Ed Greenwood, Robin D. Laws, Casts of Todd and the Book of Pure Evil, Riese, Lost Girl, Dark Rising, Medium Raw: Night of the Wolf, I Spit on Your Grave, Durham County, Pure Pwnage, Electric Playground, and Reviews on the Run.

Cancellations: Peter Facinelli (to attend the Emmys), Glenn Danzig (disallowed by Canada Customs due to criminal record), Joan Collins (due to movie role), Leslie Nielsen (due to poor health), Thomas Jane (due to television series shooting).

Attendance reaches facility limit and Toronto Fire Marshal's office halts ticket sales for four hours on Saturday afternoon. Significant backlash from organizers continuing to sell tickets to new patrons while paid attendees locked outside documented by media.
August 25–28, 2011 Metro Toronto Convention Centre 80,000[2] William Shatner, Hayden Panettiere, Chandler Riggs, Tom Felton, Eliza Dushku, Katee Sackhoff, John Astin, Anthony Daniels, Robert Englund, Lexa Doig, Vic Mignogna, Jeff Smith, Junko Mizuno, Lee Majors, Gary Kurtz, Kevin Sorbo, Michael Shanks, Barbara Eden, Larry Hagman, Michael Biehn, Nichelle Nichols, Marina Sirtis, Ethan Phillips, Malcolm McDowell, John Waters, Elvira, Doug Bradley, Danielle Harris, Tom Savini, Heather Brewer, Robert J. Sawyer, Martin Landau, Colleen Clinkenbeard, Caitlin Glass, Veronica Taylor, Lance Henriksen, Christopher Sabat, Mike McFarland, Brad Swaile, Joe Kubert, Anna Silk, Tony Moore, Tony Daniel, Andy Kubert, Adam Kubert, Stuart Immonen, Steve McNiven, Ethan Van Sciver, Chris Claremont, Dan DiDio, C. B. Cebulski, Steve Epting, Matt Fraction, David Finch, Jason Aaron, James Robinson, Fred Van Lente, Jill Thompson, Dan Slott, Alex Maleev, Yanick Paquette, Dale Eaglesham, Jonathan Hickman, Dale Keown, Jimmy Cheung, Jason Deline, Victor Lucas, Scott Jones, Tommy Tallarico, Jarett Cale, Ed Greenwood, Robin D. Laws, Casts of Todd and the Book of Pure Evil, Lost Girl, Dark Rising, Medium Raw: Night of the Wolf, Pure Pwnage, Electric Playground, and Reviews on the Run and surprise guest Guillermo del Toro (unannounced). First year running for 4 days, with Thursday added as the new extra day. Operating hours also expanded for each day.
August 23–26, 2012 Metro Toronto Convention Centre Over 91,000 Neal Adams, Olunike Adeliyi, Gillian Anderson, Kevin J. Anderson, Kelley Armstrong, Robert Bailey, Jamie Bamber, John Barrowman, Julie Benz, Jon Bernthal, Devon Bostick, Billy Burke, J. Scott Campbell, Greg Capullo, John Carpenter, Colleen Clinkenbeard, K. C. Collins, Amanda Conner, A. J. Cook, Monte Cook, Darwyn Cooke, Richard Crouse, Robin D. Laws, Tony Daniel, William B. Davis, Sergio Di Zio, Nelsan Ellis, Steve Epting, Lou Ferrigno, David Finch, Joe Flanigan, Sean Patrick Flanery, Ron Garney, Adi Granov, Ed Greenwood, Matthew Gray Gubler, Kris Holden-Ried, Alan Howarth, Rick Howland, Dale Keown, Juliet Landau, Robin Laws, Bob Layton, Stan Lee, Wendee Lee, Jeff Lemire, Christopher Lloyd, Francis Manapul, Michael Mando, J.P. Manoux, Jamie Marchi, James Marsters, Rose McGowan, Ed McGuinness, Steve McNiven, Jason Mewes, Vic Mignogna, Tony Moore, Kate Mulgrew, Trina Nishimura, Tom Noonan, Lisa Ortiz, Carlos Pacheco, David Paetkau, Zoie Palmer, Jimmy Palmiotti, Yanick Paquette, Dan Parent, David Prowse, Frank Quitely, Norman Reedus, John Rhys-Davies, Esad Ribić, Julian Richings, John A. Russo, Chris Sarandon, Anna Silk, Dan Slott, Kevin Smith, Ksenia Solo, Chris Sprouse, Amanda Tapping, J. Michael Tatum, Veronica Taylor, Jill Thompson, Tony Todd, Elias Toufexis, Alan Tudyk, Bob Tyrrell, Ethan Van Sciver, Nana Visitor, Billy West, Booker T, Brentalfloss. Surprise guest Sarah Wayne Callies (unannounced). Attending Casts from Arrow, Criminal Minds, Continuum, Flashpoint, Dead Before Dawn, Revolution (TV series), Lost Girl, A Little Bit Zombie, Todd and the Book of Pure Evil, among others. Long-time attendees Rob Bridges and Amy Banman are legally married at Fan Expo Canada in a wedding ceremony open to all attendees. Another long time attendee, who met a woman at Fan Expo Canada last year through Speed Dating, proposes Marriage to his girl during their return and (spoiler) she responses with "Yes." (Check 2012 Media links below to see actual video of the event). Second year running for 4 days. Operating hours were shortened by one hour each day from previous year.
August 22-25, 2013 Metro Toronto Convention Centre Over 100,000[3] Stan Lee, Hulk Hogan, Nathan Fillion, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Norman Reedus, Michael Rooker, Laurie Holden, Steven Yeun, Ron Perlman, Carrie Fisher, Slash, David Hasselhoff, Gina Torres, Alice Cooper, Richard Dean Anderson, Colin Baker, Stephen Amell, Ian McDiarmid, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Todd McFarlane, James Hong, Luke Perry, Jason Priestley, Dean Cain, Linda Hamilton, Shawn Ashmore, Aaron Ashmore, Max Brooks, Chumlee, Tara Strong, Cathy Weseluck, Andrea Libman, Vic Mignogna, Bobby Orr, Joe Montana, Joe Sakic, Martin Brodeur, Gordie Howe, Eric Bischoff, Chris Chelios, Red Kelly, Norm Ullman, Doug Gilmour, Roberto Alomar, Paul Molitor, Tony Fernández, John LeClair, Rick Vaive, James Reimer, Eddie Shack, Rudy Ruettiger, Connor McDavid, Cory Conacher, Ron Turcotte, Tracy Ham, Joe Murphy, Ben Johnson, Chad Kackert, Marcus Ball. Attending Casts from Lost Girl, The Listener, Bitten, Being Human, Orphan Black, Storage Wars: Canada, Defiance, Murdoch Mysteries, Warehouse 13 Cancellations: Katey Sagal, Morena Baccarin, Jeffery Combs, Lena Headey, Rickey Henderson, and Jake Gardiner. Convention expanded to encompass both North and South buildings. Sports added in the North building as a separate event.
August 28-31, 2014 Metro Toronto Convention Centre Stan Lee, Nathan Fillion, Bruce Campbell, Jason Deline, Ian Somerhalder, Michael Rooker, Danai Gurira, David Morrissey Fan Expo Canada's twentieth annual event.

Attractions[edit]

Fan Expo Canada is the site of many unique attractions that include Exclusive Pre-screenings and live presentations of upcoming television series and feature films, often including live introductions from the Directors, Producers and Cast members. Some recent projects featured at Fan Expo Canada included the television series Revolution featuring cast members Billy Burke, Tracy Spiridakos and Giancarlo Esposito. Arrow cast members; Stephen Amell, Willa Holland, Colin Donnell and Katie Cassidy. Criminal Minds cast members; A. J. Cook and Matthew Gray Gubler. Flashpoint cast members; David Paetkau, Sergio Di Zio and Olunike Adeliyi. As well as entire casts and producers for Lost Girl, Continuum and Dead Before Dawn. In 2012, for the first time ever, Fan Expo Canada was the site of an actual legal Wedding. Two longtime Fan Expo attendees were married in front of a live audience of thousands of fans on the afternoon of August 24th. There was also a proposal of marriage that took place between two attendees on the afternoon of August 26th. The engaged couple credited Fan Expo Canada’s Nerd Speed Dating event from the previous year in finding one another. Some attractions at Fan Expo Canada have become standard from year to year due to their continued popularity. Some of these attractions include the aforementioned Speed Dating, Steampunk activities, Web series presentations, Star Wars sessions provided by the 501st Legion, Lolita fashion and others.

Issues[edit]

Capacity attendance at Fan Expo Canada in 2005 has raised crowding issues. Concerns have been that the event is possibly too big for the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, even though they have moved to the largest halls in the facility. The worry of fans is that the event will sell out and potential attendees will be denied entry as has happened at similar events such as the New York Comic Con and San Diego Comic-Con International.

The 2010 event left thousands of fans standing outside as capacity became an issue, many waiting several hours for re-entry. At one point during Saturday afternoon organizers announced (to a small group by the doors) that they would not be letting anyone else in, including those who had purchased tickets in advance, but the majority of fans remained unaware of this and continued to line up in ignorance until word-of-mouth reached them. Eventually they announced that they would be staying open an extra hour to try to accommodate the lines, though many had waited for more than 2 hours for re-entry.

Due to additional space, more staff, a new advance ticketing system, expanded hours and the additional day added to the event, capacity issues were avoided in 2011.

Criticism[edit]

In recent years, HSM has cleaned up their organization and become more respectful to attendees of their fan-based events. After the capacity issue at Fan Expo 2010 and extending the event, CEO and President Aman Gupta released an apology statement to the fans, and stated that while no refunds would be made under any circumstances, the South Building of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, which had been the location in previous years, was booked immediately for the 2011 edition.[4] Public relations employees at Hobby Star also contacted as many of the fans who had expressed their dissatisfaction, gathering feedback on the convention and expressing personal apologies.

External links[edit]

Media articles[edit]

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References[edit]