Toronto Comicon unites gamers, cosplayers and esports enthusiasts

The Toronto Comicon brought together gamers, cosplayers, and esports enthusiasts from March 18-20. Fans gathered at the Metro Toronto Convention Center for some convention fun and the organizers gave it their all.

Toronto Comicon and the cosplay red carpet

Attendees walked the cosplay red carpet at the Metro Toronto Convention Center. This section of the event featured a long line of people who wanted to show off their craft in front of fans.

Vanessa Barata dressed up as D.Va from Overwatch and shared that she likes being the main tank. “I really liked designing my headphones,” Barata added. “Because at first, it was a daunting task. I’m like, ‘how am I going to do this?’ But then I got some foam, some spray paint and glued it on.”

There were also League of Legends fans on the Toronto Comicon red carpet. The Arcane series on Netflix introduced a wizard to the game’s characters and inspired his choice of cosplay.

Joselyn Zenvejas's Jinx cosplay at Toronto Comicon
Joselyn Zenvejas’s Jinx cosplay at Toronto Comicon.

“I recently saw Arcane and I’ve been really obsessed with Jinx,” said Joselyn Zenvejas. “I just love the character so much and I love the character design of him.”

Zenvejas added that Jinx is fun and chaotic, which added to her excitement about walking the Toronto Comicon red carpet. “I feel like I can express myself and be a completely different character,” he said.

Toronto Comicon and esports

Elsewhere at the Toronto Comicon, attendees played fighting games in a dedicated esports corner. fire games partnered with Gaming Stadium to help make this happen.

“We have Super Smash Bros., Street Fighter V, Guilty Gear Strive, and all the newest content and DLC for every game,” said Roshawn May of Incendium Gaming.

“The new game I’m playing right now is The King of Fighters XV,” May revealed. “I had a great time playing that. I still play a little bit of Guilty Gear Strive and a little bit of Street Fighter V. Those are the fighting games I’m playing right now. Outside of fighting games, I’ve gotten my ass kicked in a lot of Elden Ring.”

Toronto Comicon attendees at the esports section of the event
Toronto Comicon attendees at the esports section of the event.

The attendees did not compete for titles or prizes, but for Red Bull drinks and some gift cards. The esports area was made for more casual gamers, according to May. This was further emphasized through the attendees of all ages who played in the area.

Building Canadian Academic Esports

The Toronto Comicon also had a booth that featured Canada’s first esports prep show. Randy Brenzen and Tennesee Fafard traveled from Saskatchewan to brief attendees on Athol Murray College of Notre Dame’s esports offerings.

“It’s an opportunity for high school students in grades 9-12 to get some useful practice in esports,” said Fafard, director of esports. “Many players have passed through their parents’ house and have to practice for hours and hours. A lot of parents don’t like that, so the best thing about this is that we give them useful practice, which is training that would be compared to top organizations.”

Fafard added how the program can help students get an education at a university or play esports at a professional level.

Randy Brenzen and Tennesee Fafard at their esports booth at the Toronto Comicon.
Randy Brenzen and Tennesee Fafard at their esports booth at the Toronto Comicon.

Brenzen, the international enrollment officer, explained how it is only the second year of the esports program and that 2022 will be the first year that they will have their first graduates. He added that in 2021, the program helped introverted students become more open and confident.

“There has been a lot of personal development and growth during that year,” Brenzen said. “And we hope that they will go on and do bigger and better things, whether it be esports shows or college and things like that.”

The esports schedule includes games like League of Legends, Hearthstone, Dota 2, Rocket League, Fortnite, and Overwatch.