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Calgary Expo, formerly known in full as the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo, is an annual fan convention held at Stampede Park in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The show originally began in 2005 as a comic book convention, before moving on in 2009 to include actors from television shows and movies. Starting in 2005, the convention has quickly become the second largest convention in Canada.[2] The convention originally began in the BMO Centre before expanding in 2013 across the whole Stampede Park, and in 2014 additionally creating an extra tent for panels.

Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo
Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo Logo.jpg
StatusActive
GenreComic, pop culture
VenueStampede Park
Location(s)Calgary, Alberta
CountryCanada
Inaugurated2005
Attendance95,000 in 2017[1]
Organized byInforma Canada
Websitewww.calgaryexpo.com

The convention became famous for having reunited the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation for the shows 25th anniversary in 2012, and two years later, reuniting nearly the entire cast of Aliens. In addition, a cosplay parade, which begins at Eau Claire, and finishes at Olympic Plaza, which began in 2013 with over 400 participants, and continued in 2014 with 690.

On October 16, 2017, Fan Expo Canada announced its acquisition of the convention and its Edmonton spin-off event.[3][4]

Ming-Na Wen and Brett Dalton at the 2015 Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo.

ProgrammingEdit

 
Doctor Who cosplayers pose with Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi during the 2014 Calgary Expo opening ceremony on Friday April 25.

The convention offers an extensive range of panels that take place in locations throughout the park. In addition to the exhibitors' hall taking place in BMO halls A-C, and celebrity autograph sessions taking place in D and E, multiple conference rooms throughout the BMO such as the Palomino room host smaller panels. Bigger names will often also have their panels in the Stampede Corral, and some also taking place in the Boyce Theatre. In addition to the regular panels which last 45 minutes, 2012 and 2014 included special, extended panels often labeled as "EXPOsed", which typically last from an hour to two hours long. These have ranged from concert-type panels to discussion panels.

ControversyEdit

2012 overselling incidentEdit

In 2012, the convention had gotten even bigger, with the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation having been announced, and ticket sales skyrocketing. On Saturday of 2012, the venue had reached past the maximum capacity, with an estimated attendance having been projected as 45,000. The venue had exceeded capacity, and at 13:00 the Fire Marshall was called; it was deemed safe for 100 people to be admitted every 15 minutes. Many people were turned away and not let into the venue. Despite this, Expo staff had issued a statement claiming the convention was not oversold, and they hadn't been charged because no violations took place.[5]

A week later, the organizers issued a refund plan for people who were not admitted.[6] In 2013, the organizers announced that to prevent a similar event from taking place, no onsite sales would take place.[citation needed]

AccessibilityEdit

In 2018, following the acquisition of Calgary Expo by Fan Expo/Informa, the convention was criticized by disability-rights advocates for removing a long-standing policy that allowed wheelchair users free access to VIP lanes to receive priority access to celebrity autograph and photo opportunities. The organizers stated that the revised policies were intended to provide balanced access for all attendees, were part of a goal to provide an "equal and accessible" experience for all attendees (as the result of the change was to make all attendees require a VIP pass for such access, regardless of disability), and that they were in compliance with relevant legislation.[4]

Related eventsEdit

In 2012, an Edmonton-based spin-off was first held, the Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expo, at the Edmonton Expo Centre in Northlands.[7] The inaugural edition hosted 15,000; by 2016, attendance had grown to 40,000. The 2017 edition featured an appearance by William Shatner and a concert by Gene Simmons of Kiss.[8][9]

In 2014, the convention began an affiliation with the Saskatchewan Entertainment Expo in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, first held in 2013, which was re-branded as the Saskatoon Comic and Entertainment Expo. The affiliation ended in 2018 following the sale to Fan Expo.[10]

In 2016, the convention began to hold the Calgary Expo Holiday Market at BMO Centre, with a focus on vendors and gift shopping.[11][12]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Calgary Expo: Event attracts 95,000 over four days; numbers down but not disappointing, say organizers". Calgary Herald. May 1, 2017. Retrieved May 1, 2017.
  2. ^ "Calgary Comic & Entertainment breaks records with outstanding 9th convention in Calgary, Alberta". Gay Calgary. April 29, 2014. Retrieved February 27, 2015.
  3. ^ "Big News Super-Fans!". Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo. Informa Canada, Inc. Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Calgary, Edmonton Expos less accessible after policy change, say fans with mobility concerns". CBC News. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  5. ^ McCoy, Heath (April 27, 2012). "Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo 2012 blows past capacity, turns people away". Calgary Herald. Retrieved February 27, 2015.
  6. ^ McMurray, Jenna (May 2, 2012). "Refund plan set for packed comic expo". Calgary Sun. Retrieved February 27, 2015.
  7. ^ Ramsay, Caley (September 28, 2013). "Thousands drawn to Edmonton Expo for comic convention". Global News. Retrieved February 27, 2015.
  8. ^ "Edmonton Expo 2017: Rock and roleplaying amid endless merch". Edmonton Journal. September 19, 2017. Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  9. ^ "Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expo draws fans, celebrities". CBC News. Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  10. ^ Melnychuk, Mark (May 2, 2019). "How two men saved Saskatchewan's geek conventions". Regina Leader-Post. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  11. ^ "Calgary Expo brings a holiday market to Big Four this November". Calgary Herald. September 4, 2016. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  12. ^ "Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo: Nathan Fillion first guest announced for 2017". Global News. Retrieved May 3, 2018.

External linksEdit