Wizard World Toronto completed its third year on the weekend and the show continues to to show growth and strength in the Toronto convention market. This year saw the use of the Toronto Convention Centre, which is a far more useful location in terms of space and proximity to public transportation and the downtown core. Wizard World was in the smaller North Building and even then only used about 80% of the available floor space so we know that the convention has some space to grow in subsequent years. The number of participants has also steadily grown over the last 3 years, but the convention is nowhere near capacity.
This, in fact, is one of the draws of the convention for many fans. Because it is not as crowded as other conventions you can actually walk through the floor without feeling crushed by a mass of humanity. I saw almost no lines the except for celebrity or artist signatures or sketches. This is a huge positive, and one of the current strengths of the show.
Wizard World is great if you like comic books, and video games, and anime, and horror, and table top games, and sci-fi, and cosplay. There is lots to see and do. However, if you only like one or two of those genres you will not see a whole lot and could probably do everything you want to do in a couple of hours. There just needs to be more dealers. If you were going solely to look for comic books you would have spent some time at about half a dozen dealers and then you would have left. I have heard that the table cost for dealers is quite high and this unfortunately creates a bit of a chicken and egg scenario. More dealers means more people, but until the gate is high enough dealers don’t like to commit. It just doesn’t make financial sense for them.
The artists and celebrities were excellent and spent a lot of time with fans signing autographs, sketching, and chatting about their work (more on this in another post, I got a chance to moderate a panel with some great Canadian talent). If you are a nerd pop culture fan you would be very pleased with this convention.
The cost is high for admission. $45 for the weekend is higher on a per day basis than Fan Expo, and Fan Expo does have more dealers, more guests, and more events. Wizard World is growing, so I understand the need for some upfront funding to build, and fans seemed happy to pay this cost, but I hope that this high ticket price stays constant for years as the show grows to say thank you to fans (I would not want to see if get higher every year).
I have said this before and it bears repeating: everyone I talk to tells me they had a great time at Wizard World. They got to enjoy their hobby and didn’t need to worry about giant crowds. It seems strange that some of the other conventions are victims of their own success in that regard but there you have it. If you are a fan and have been on the fence about visiting Wizard World I would encourage you to check it out.