Quite a few months ago I had the genius idea to apply to volunteer at Fan Expo Canada. I volunteered for the Pan Am Games last summer and had such an incredible experience that I knew I wanted to find more places to volunteer my time. I’ve always been interested in fandoms—I even wrote my final journalism thesis on the topic—and conventions, but never really had the money to attend one.
This year, I thought, why not volunteer? I enjoy this kind of experience and I figured it would be a fun, unique way to spend a weekend. Let me tell you, I was right. Fan Expo Canada was phenomenal!
Held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from September 1-4, Fan Expo was an event I’ll never forget!
My role for Fan Expo was to work the autograph lines. For anyone who’s never been to a convention, there’s a long row of tables set up where celebrities sit to sign autographs. In front of each table is a section blocked off for fans to wait in line to meet their favourite celebrities. The volunteers in this area are in charge of working with the celebrities and their handlers to make sure things run smoothly, as well as to keep the line organized.
This year, there were so many amazing celebrities that I wanted to see, but I heard that a few of the cast of The Walking Dead—one of my favourite shows—were going to be there and I wanted to work their lines.
Over the course of the weekend, I was able to meet Scott Wilson (Hershel), Sonequa Martin-Green (Sasha), and Michael Cudlitz (Abraham). It was honestly so amazing. I didn’t really get a chance to talk to Michael at all, but he did greet the volunteers every morning (he was always the first to arrive, before the con even opened). I did, however, have the chance to talk to Scott and Sonequa multiple times throughout the weekend.
Let me just say, Sonequa is flawless and sooooo incredibly nice! She was very sweet and spent quite a lot of time talking to fans and volunteers alike. Scott is literally the nicest person in the world! For anyone who doesn’t know, Hershel was one of my favourite characters because he just seemed like the kindest man, and that is exactly how Scott Wilson is. He held my hand while we talked and was actually interested in asking questions about me (which I was not expecting). He even came around the table at one point and asked where his hug was (so yes, I did get to hug Scott Wilson)!
After having the opportunity to talk to some of my favourites from The Walking Dead, Scott and Sonequa both asked if I wanted to take a photo with them and they both signed a picture for me! Scott Wilson even signed my volunteer shirt! It was truly amazing. I was not expecting that at all.
When I wasn’t on shift, I was allowed to wander the event and take in all that it had to offer. I made some really great friends, one of whom I spent my off-shift time with taking in all the booths set up in both buildings.
One of my favourite booths was the Vikings booth set up in the south building. They had hair dressers braiding people’s hair like characters from the show—you could choose Bjorn, Aslaug, or Lagertha. Of course, I had my hair done like Lagertha. They were also air brushing characters’ tattoos on people. The really great part about this booth, it was all free!
There were so many amazing things to see and do at Fan Expo Canada! A lot does cost money, but there’s always things you can do for free, like just walking around and taking in the sites!
I had such a great time this year, that I will definitely be back to volunteer for many years to come.
If you’ve never been before, you should definitely think of checking it out next year. I promise, there’s something there for just about everyone! If you’re interested, the website is: http://fanexpocanada.com/.