STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY CAMILLE GUSHWAY
The lower level of the Metro Convention Centre was flooded with costumes last weekend as the annual Toronto ComiCon opened its doors to people of all ages dressed in a variety of cosplays.
The costumes ranged from anime characters to iconic film characters. The dealers’ room, where most of the excitement was, was every cosplayer’s dream, featuring merchandise from Japan including sweets, posters, music and collectibles were available for purchase.
Special guests included Jason Isaacs from the Harry Potter films and Ernie Hudson from Ghostbusters. Attendees had the chance to meet the celebrities for autographs and photo sessions.
“It’s smaller than Fan Expo and Anime North but it’s probably the third biggest convention that I know of,” said Yuki Snow, who was dressed as a cat version of Katarina from League of Legends. “There’s always a big turnout and there’s always tons of merchandise you can buy.”
As kids, we remember dressing up once a year and coming home with bags of candy. ComiCon attendees take that to the next level. The dedication put into their costumes can stretch from spending hundreds of dollars for a costume or making it from scratch. Some cosplayers have been widely recognized for what they do, and a few even appeared as special guests for ComiCon.
“I think it started when I was a kid, I was really into Halloween and I really liked dressing up,” said Joshua Mendoza, who was dressed as a ranger from The Lord of the Rings. “As soon as I started getting into different fandoms I discovered that cosplay is a way to continue dressing up on days not restricted to the end of October.”
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“I’ve liked anime for a long time,” said Snow. “At one point my friends started getting into cosplay. I thought it was pretty cool so I decided to join them.”
Regular con goers know that convention preparation can take anywhere from a few hours to a few months. This includes purchasing tickets, booking time off work, booking hotel rooms, sewing costumes, makeup and more.
“Costume planning usually takes a couple days,” said Snow. “On the day of, makeup takes about two hours for me.”
“Since I never attend a convention without dressing up, I’ve got some emergency supplies like tape, safety pins and Crazy Glue just in case something goes wrong with my costume. I always stay hydrated, I’ve always got snacks and I always leave room in my schedule to just walk around and enjoy the sights,” said Mendoza.
To some, cosplay may look a little childish and “out there.” Many of the attendees could argue that cosplay can be so much more than a pastime.
“I’d say it’s more than a hobby,” said Spencer Whiting, who was dressed as Quicksilver from X-Men: Days of Future Past. “There’s a lot of excitement that goes into theses conventions. When you have hundreds of people jammed into one place that enjoy the same thing you enjoy, it’s a pretty big bonding experience.”