Following last week’s ownership change of the Toronto Comicon, a lot of people were confused about what shows were what in Toronto. Although we’re not locals, as far as we can make out there are three major shows in Toronto:

TCAF: an indie centric, curated show which is generally considered one of the best comics event in North America. Usually held every two years, it’s making a return appearance in 2010, a year ahead of schedule following 2009’s boffo event. The show is run by Chris Butcher and Peter Birkemoe of The Beguiling.

Fan Expo Canada: Run by Hobby Star, this is a big mixed media type event with top comics and nerdlebrity stars. This year’s show will be held August 28-30. It draws upwards of 50,000 people, and is sometimes called the third biggest show in North America. Hobby Star holds several smaller expos throughout the year. Although we’re sure the ownership is more complicated, Aman Gupta is generally considered the show runner.

Toronto Comicon: Also known as the Paradise Toronto Comicon, this is the show acquired by Gareb Shamus. Formerly run by Paradise Comics’ Peter Dixon, it is more of a comics-centric show, spotlighting both the Toronto’s fertile local cartoonist scene and comics creators. Unfortunately the show has run into some cash flow problems and this year’s event was canceled.

While all of this sounds pretty simple, as this post on Jason Truong’s blog, with comments by Kevin Boyd, who formerly worked for Paradise Comicon and now works for Hobby Star, talks a little about Toronto’s history of “Con wars” between Paradise and Hobby Star. Everyone involved hopes the con wars won’t be revived.

One more thing before we go: TCAF has nothing to do with ANY con wars and it’s most likely the one foreign show we’ll be going to next year!

[Last link via Sequential.]


  1. Actually there are more conventions!

    Ad Astra is a science-fiction literature and fantasy con – it takes place on April 9-11, 2009

    Polaris is a science-fiction and fantasy convention that usually takes place in mid-July.

    Anime North is the city’s biggest Anime convention and is scheduled for May 28-30, 2010.

    HobbyStar has already announced our other annual Toronto ComiCON conventions — they are scheduled for February 28, 2010 and June 5-6, 2010 (the annual Fan Appreciation event with free admission on Sunday), and another one expected for late November 2010. There is also a 2 day annual Toronto AnimeCON on March 20-21, 2010.

  2. I wouldn’t say that there are any innocent parties in the Toronto con war, there is more than enough self interest to spare. Everyone was knee deep. Some parties just manage to appear above the fray, while using media contacts and indie creator good will to bad mouth everyone else while looking like angels.

  3. I’ve been to Fan Expo and TCAF, both are great, though very different. Haven’t had a chance to attend Paradise Comicon, though, but I’m glad it’s being revived in whatever form. It’s nice that we get that variety here.