As the annual Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo opened its doors for the 11th year this past Thursday, they welcomed over 100,000 excited guests, a number just 500 shy of the record-breaking 10th anniversary. Fans of the comic and comic-entertainment world swarmed the BMO Centre, many dressed in various states of cos-play, and all wearing eager grins.
“We’re blown away,” said Calgary Expo host and spokesperson Emily Expo. “Going into the 11th year and following a major anniversary, we anticipated a smaller showing because we knew that the anniversary itself was such a big draw. Not only was this one of the most well-attended conventions in North America this year, but we’re saying goodbye to a group of invited guests from around the world saying that it was one of the most pleasant and positive fan experiences they’ve had.”
While the event officially kicked off on the Thursday, the POW Parade of Wonders was Calgary at-large’s opportunity to take in all of the nerdy wonder the expo curates. The parade included 2200 participants and attracted 11,000 spectators (up from 1,800 and 5,000 respectively in 2015).
Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, stars of the franchise made multiple appearances throughout the weekend, including William Shatner, who was presented with a Canada Post stamp depicting him in his iconic role as Captain Kirk. Our inner nerds had to be kept tightly under wrap when Shatner walked a mere few feet away from us, a gentle twinkle in his eye as he smiled at our obvious fandom.
Of course, many fans came out to see Stan Lee, former president and current chairman of Marvel Comics, as well as the creator of a few characters you may know (think Spider-Man, the Hulk, Thor…). Mr. Lee has stated that this will be his last Canadian expo, and as such the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo was thrilled to have him in attendance. A few other notable stars who made the expo their first Canadian convention appearances included Famke Janssen, Clive Standen, Lea DeLaria, and Jackie Cruz.
A few of our personal highlights from the expo include (but are not limited to): watching John Barrowman crash the POW parade ceremony, meeting the quietly charming and enchantingly gravitas Peter Mayhew (Chewbaca from Star Wars), and watching the unbelievable cos-players show off their creations!
Calgary Expo will return to Stampede Park in 2017: April 27-April 30, 2017. Organizers are already making plans for 2017, and for two other conventions in Western Canada this year: September 17-18, 2016 in Saskatoon and September 23-25, 2016 in Edmonton.