Once a year, the bustling Canadian city of Niagara Falls is packed to the brim with cosplayers roaming the streets as Niagara Falls Comic Con comes to town for the weekend. The exciting pop culture event was held at the Scotiabank Arena this year from June 7-9.
Guests included the likes of Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future), Bruce Campbell (The Evil Dead), The Undertaker®, Billy Dee Williams (Star Wars), Tommy Flanagan (Sons of Anarchy), Pom Klementieff (Guardians of the Galaxy), NBC’s The Office trio Creed Bratton, Kate Flannery, and Oscar Nuñez, and many more.
Niagara Falls Comic Con has grown exponentially in size since its inaugural annual event in 2011. This convention offers a variety of activities and things to see, including but not limited to: celebrity guest Q&A panels, autographs, photo ops, informational panels (Droids 101, Behind the Scenes of VFX, etc.), SciFi Speed Dating, an artist alley, exhibitors with elaborate displays, and more!
The central location of Niagara Falls Comic Con is absolutely key, as it allows for both Canadian and American fans to come settle in for a weekend of fun. For those that travel from out of town to see their favorite stars, there is the added bonus of playing tourist for the weekend and exploring the famous city and all that it has to offer.
As a local resident, I find that one of the best things about Niagara Falls Comic Con is the fact that it is so easily accessible to locals within the Niagara Region who may not necessarily be able to make it to some of the higher-profile conventions in larger, busier cities. In anticipation of families bringing their children along, the organizers appear to work hard every year to put together an event that appeals to pop culture nerds of all ages!
Speaking of appealing to a broad audience, this convention also includes a section in the vendor room specifically for Falls Horror Fest. In this area, attendees can find an exciting, intriguing, and sometimes stomach-turning variety of artists, memorabilia, and exhibits on the more macabre end of pop culture. Each year, there are always a handful of guests specifically geared toward Falls Horror Fest — Campbell of course being one of them for 2019.
While perusing the horror section, I heard the rhythmic notes of “Carry On Wayward Son,” and I knew that a very special guest was just around the corner — a replica of Baby, the 1967 Chevrolet Impala from Supernatural. This particular Baby had rolled in from Ottawa, and she proudly sat on display while attendees took photos in the driver’s seat and in front of a trunk full of hunter’s weapons galore.
Niagara Falls Comic Con always boasts an impressive array of exhibitors, many of which aim to raise money for various charities. The Star Wars-centric 501st Canadian Garrison and the equally impressive Rebel Legion were in attendance this year, along with the likes of the Doctor Who Society of Canada, the Ontario Ghostbusters, and more! A brand new exhibitor that turned many heads also joined the ranks this past weekend — Robot Club, a self-proclaimed “e-clectic group of misfit mechs and robo-royalty from your favourite Sci-Fi franchises.” Robot Club was joined at its booth by Jace Wars, an organization close to my heart that fundraises for local charities such as Ronald McDonald House Hamilton.
One of my favorite exhibitors that I saw over the weekend was the Merrill Movie Museum from Pensacola, Florida. The Museum’s booth included an incredible collection of authentic movie props from well-known franchises, such as Planet of the Apes and Iron Man. I was particularly excited to find a Resistance X-wing pilot chest box from Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
One thing that I appreciate the most about Niagara Falls Comic Con is the fact that the layout is modified annually; it is optimized to meet the needs and demands of the crowds that show up. For example, in comparison to other conventions I have attended, the organizers have truly taken care in recent years to avoid overselling the vendor spots. It’s clear that the floor plan was designed with accessibility in mind, as it provides a wide berth for people to stop to look at tables without blocking the thru traffic walking up and down the aisles.
When it comes to eating, hungry attendees can rest always assured that the venue — which also has a variety of food and snack options — is just down the road from a wide selection of restaurants. There was even a McDonald’s beverage truck giving out free coffees right outside the convention center!
Overall, this was another enjoyable year in the books for my favorite annual local event. 2020 will mark a decade of Niagara Falls Comic Con, and I’m certain that the organizers will have some exciting surprises up their sleeves to commemorate the milestone event. I look forward to seeing what’s in store!