METRO TORONTO CONVENTION CENTRE
Friday 4 PM - 9 PM | Saturday 10 am - 6 PM | Sunday 11 am - 6 PM
August 25-27, 2000
This is going to be a bit different than my normal pic page...This is going to be a full out rant. The reasons will become clear as I progress.
First of all, I would like to take a moment to thank Aman Gupta who was the Trade Show Coordinator and seemed to very much be single handily running the show. (I know there were a lot of other folks behind the scenes, but this guy was everywhere.) When we ran into trouble getting a hotel reservation, he got the situation cleared up faster than I thought possible.
I would also like to thank the Staff of the Novotel Toronto Centre Hotel who provided us with a wonderful room. I can't complain at all about this hotel. It was great. Much nicer than the dump of a hotel that Toronto Trek is held at every year.
This was a terrific con for a comic book fan. I meant there seemed to be everyone in the industry there. For the sci-fi fans, there were also a nice number of guests. Unfortunately, we went as Anime fans. There the con was lacking. Oh, and before I get too far into this rant, to the fluff brain who said "well, its different in America, you get all the big cons there, we get so little here", all I can say is PHHHT!. The only 'American' cons I've been to were run by Creation, and they were little more than a flea market with a vid screen attached. EVERY! good con I've been to have been in Toronto. So, wake up. Its very telling when the con chair asks the crowd in the Masquerade if this is the best con ever, and gets 75% yelling "NO!". I know they tried, but it you remove the Anime con from the other 2, it would probably fit into your local Holiday Inn with room to spare. Give em a few years, and maybe it'll be worth looking into again. Oh well, on to the rant.
We leave that dying city, Buffalo for what is billed as "Canada's Largest Anime Event". We fight the bumper to bumper traffic for a half hour leading into Toronto. Driving in downtown Toronto is not fun. Pedestrians have the right of way, and turning corners can take a while. People walk right off the curb without blinking. It was interesting to say the least. We drove past the convention centre and all I could say was "WOW". It looks huge. We proceed down to our hotel and check in. It seems a little far away for only "4 blocks", but we don't worry too much. We haul our stuff up to the room, change n head down to the center...and we walk..and we walk... it was like a mile away...real hard to go back n forth from, as the walk alone in the humidity tended to tire us way the hell out. We get there, hop in the huge line and surprise surprise, we get thru fast. We head up to the dealers room, and it was huge! A lot of name companies were there, plus other con info, and lots of cool people. Susan spent a few hours working with 1 of the dealers and I set out looking for the fun events. Hmmm....7pm, Friday, con closes in 2 hrs? WTF? Add up the total hours this BIGGEST event will run from the list above...20 hours. WOW! thats big....Oh wait, there was the 'Hollywood Anime' ($7 extra at a different bld) oh and the fact that I never did locate a map as to where it was. (There wasn't one in the program. Hey folks, when ya spread out over multiple buildings, how about telling n SHOWING us where they are...we don't all live in the Metro Toronto Area.). Oh, and the all night Anime. But other than a small handful of videos (mostly available on commercial VHS) there wasn't much to do. I collected Susan at 915 from the dealer's table and we grabbed dinner n crashed.
We woke up, walked the 20 min to the center where I deposited Susan with the dealer to work a few more hours. (Working at a con? Well, there wasn't much else to do.) Yes, there were a few more 'premiere's going on, but maybe something more than a title might get the non-familiar fan interested? I collected her again at 1230, and we went back to the hotel for lunch...we had intended to make it back in time to watch Kenshin and possibly catch the Q&A with the Utena folks, but were just too bored n tired to bother. We headed back at 4 for the Masquerade. She signed in, and I left her at the green room and went to reserve a spot in line. 5pm, sat, I'm sitting on my ass on a floor. Why? cuz at 5pm on sat, the only thing that seemed to be going on was a trivia contest. Whee...glad I brought some books to read. At a bit more than a tad after 6 the started seating. The sent in 10 people at a time in a controlled manner. The masquerade was the best part of the con. We ran into several folks we met at Anime North, and I got a few pics to post. Eventually, we wandered back to the hotel and crashed.
We said the hell with this and left early. Hotel check out was at 1pm, after paying $28 for parking, we decided to cut our losses and head home. Needless to say, we won't be back for a while, and even then, only for a day. I can't recommend this con to anyone but a diehard comic book fan. And its sad, because I wanted too.
Excellent crowd control, lines moved fast, they seem to have the mechanics down great. The con people were very helpful at fixing the few probs we had with the mechanics. (Again, Aman, we thank you)
Simply not enough to do and not enough promotion of events within the area or clear info on where, when, why. Fix that, and ya got it made folks. Take the wide scope of things to do like AN and TT, and combine that with your facility space, and a better way of getting things promoted and you'll do great. I leave every Toronto Trek and Anime North thinking I wish It lasted a few more days cuz I'm not done. With this con, I felt I was done after I walked the dealers room for the 2nd time.
Oh, and as to what con they yelled was the best? Anime North. We had fun there. It felt like home. We will return for that next year.
Ok, I took a grand total of 36 shots. Of those, all most all of the ones from the Masqurade stage suffered from motion blurs like crazy. I had cranked the resolution up in order to get better quality shots, and due to the extra second it takes to store the pics (they bounce from 320 wide to 1024 wide...or 32k to 200k in size) they ended up bluryry. Also, alot of the other shots from around the con ended up too 'boring' to post. These -few- shots here are the best of the batch. I will work on the rest as I have time and hopefully manage to sharpen a few more up. I really wish I'd gotten better shots of the other Utena's and Anthys. :(
If anyone else has cos-shots from this con, please drop me a line and lets swap links.
Susan and Esmeraldas 162k
The Utena Group 20k motion blured. :(