August 25, 2022
By Woodrow Kolomvos, Contributing Writer
From today to Sunday, August 28th, Fan Expo Canada, the largest comics, sci-fi, horror, anime, and gaming event in Canada, will be happening at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
For the fans, by the fans, attendees to Fan Expo Canada can look forward to a multitude of attractions such as panels, cosplay competitions, and gaming events – guest appearances from esteemed celebrities such as Elijah Wood, Joseph Quinn, and the legendary William Shatner – and fan meetups throughout the entire show.
A major attraction of many pop culture conventions, Fan Expo Canada included, is the turnout of cosplayers that dress up in costumes as characters from their favourite franchises. Every year, cosplayers from across North America and internationally can show off their elaborate cosplays and participate in competitions that test their dedication and skill. The Bramptonist reached out to a few of the official cosplay guests attending Fan Expo Canada to hear what they have to say about their experiences at the convention and what attendees can look forward to this year in terms of celebrating cosplay.
For many members of the cosplay community, participating in the hobby means more to them than the thrill of dressing up. There is a lot that can be said about the community that encourages cosplayers such as Luxsteez to continue to get involved. She had to say that what she loves most about cosplay culture is “how accepting it is for anyone to just join and cosplay whoever they want. Cosplay is for everyone and there’s no shame in how you create your costume”.
This was echoed by fellow cosplayer CosPayton, who explained that “cosplay culture is all about the community… what keeps me coming back to cosplay is the friends I’ve made and the community of support, enthusiasm, and unbridled geeky-ness”. For cosplayer AuzzieJLee, the community means “more than just… the act of wearing and making my own costumes as much as it’s a way to connect with other people through a shared interest in games, animation, or film”.
Events like Fan Expo Canada play an important role for pop culture and hobbies like cosplay because of its ability to bring people involved with these interests together. When commenting on the culture around Fan Expo Canada, CosPayton had to say that “Toronto and Fan Expo Canada has really become a hub for cosplay for me and others. I can always count on Fan Expo to be the convention where my friends from all over Ontario come to meet up once a year”.
Cosplay duo Aaron and Wendy at Married Makers described Toronto’s cosplay culture as being a “cultural hub of so many different types of people”, and when it comes to Canadian conventions, they noticed that “while the geek culture is pretty inclusive and accepting in general, there seems to be more inclusivity and acceptance in Canada”.
For some, cosplay and conventions that allow them to show off their craft provides a safe space for creative expression. Married Makers described that hobbies like cosplay have become an “increasingly safe space for people of all types to express themselves however they want, and be who they want to be… It acts as a bridge for people from different walks of life [to] find common ground in their favourite fandoms”.
Fan Expo Canada’s ability to draw fans together means celebrating the ways pop culture has had an influence on our lives, whether it be through inspiring people to pursue hobbies such as cosplay or encouraging fans to meet their favourite celebrity. On a final note about what makes Canadian geek and pop culture special, CosPayton told us that compared to other events, “after a weekend at a Canadian convention, I always come home exhausted, but full of so much love! Fan Expo specifically was my first convention experience all the way back when I was a preteen and there’s a reason I keep coming back. Staff, attendees, and guests all go above and beyond to make sure everyone has a good time”.
If you would like to learn more about Fan Expo Canada, you can check out their official website here. Special thanks to Luxsteez, AuzzieJLee, CosPayton, and Married Makers for taking the time to comment on their experiences with cosplay, you can find more details about their guest appearances at Fan Expo Canada here.