Fan Expo 2022: A Chaotic Day of Crowds and Comics

1 November 2022 / by Rachel Strouble
fan2022 expo
Fan Expo 2022: A Chaotic Day of Crowds and Comics
With several guest appearances and art displays, the event offered attendees a glimpse into the world of cosplay and comics

Panels, photo ops, booths and some special appearances from celebrities like William Shatner were at the heart of the hustle and bustle of this year’s Fan Expo.  Fan Expo Canada is an annual fiction fan convention held in Toronto, Ontario, and one of the biggest of its kind in the world with over 100,000 attendees each year. Launched in 1995, the four-day event takes place from Thursday to Sunday, typically held the weekend before Labour Day at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC). Initially, the showcase only featured comic books, science fiction and film/television and related popular arts but it has since grown to display 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 most captivating part of the event were the celebrity appearances. Le Var Burton and Brent Spiner from Star Trek: The Next Generation attended the event, along with William Shatner from Star Trek: The Original Series. As the guests made their appearances, fans swarmed the room to get autographs, making it difficult to even see the special guests. Also present were the Canadian icons from the sketch comedy group “The Kids In The Hall”, promoting their new Amazon Prime Video show and snapping photos with fans. Rob Paulsen from the animated comedy musical television series “Animaniacs” and Paige O’Hara from  “Beauty and the Beast” also attended. Apart from the celebrities, the event included walkways with booths of artists and vintage collectors with prints of their own art or posters of the most popular movies, games, retro toys and trinkets. 

Amidst the chaos of an overwhelming amount of cosplayers and eager superfans, it was super easy to get lost at the event. Trying to move to another section of the center was like being in a tin of sardines that was then thrown into a boiling pot of water. Everyone’s body heat, combined with the temperature outside made it incredibly muggy and hot inside, and was quite uncomfortable, especially for anyone claustrophobic. It also made it difficult to interview any of the guests. One of the special guests there was Fearless Fred, a radio and podcast host focussing on comics and “really nerdy stories.”  

 “You can get lost and confused within the myriad of booths and whatnot and sometimes you can get a little bit stressed out, like when you’re stuck in a crowd and there’s literally nowhere you can move, it can be a little bit unnerving,” he said. “But, it’s a great time, you just gotta plan a little bit and make sure your pockets are full of patience, you know?”He even suggested going to the Runner’s Room to buy proper walking shoes for the event as your feet can start hurting after a couple of hours at the Expo wearing uncomfortable shoes. 

The event did offer a room for families and their young children, and this ended up being the best place to be. Behind a pair of double-doors was  a small Fisher-Price village modeled after an island from Animal Crossing in the entrance, welcoming us into the Fan Expo’s version of heaven: temporary tattoos, toddler cosplay contests, Jurassic World Dino Digs and Harry Potter photo ops. This space acted as a small, much-needed oasis with air conditioning, enabling attendees to rest and recuperate from the mayhem of the day. 

Despite a long day of trekking (pun very much intended) through crowds of people, across what felt like thousands of miles and getting lost in the poorly-labelled sections of the room, the day was filled with excitement and adrenaline that could give any person who attended a glimpse into the world of comics and anime.