Bittersweet news for the Toronto fandom scene…

June 4, 2012

I got an email yesterday with an announcement from the TCON Promotional Society, which is the fan non-profit that runs the Polaris convention in Toronto every July, and also holds the Constellation awards to celebrate excellence in science fiction movies and television, here in Canada and around the world.

The news was disappointing. This summer is apparently the last time that Polaris will be held in its current format. TCON will be holding an event next summer, but the details haven’t been sorted out yet, and it will probably be smaller and less elaborate than Polaris.

The email didn’t go into a lot of detail about the reasons for this change, but there were some hints. The fandom scene in Toronto is growing and diversifying, and Polaris, as a big generic fan-run hotel con, is facing competition all over – competition for the disposable income of fans, for the time of their potential volunteers, possibly even for attendance with anybody who might schedule an event opposite them. And the expectations of the fans are rising higher.

I’ll miss Polaris when it’s gone. I had a great time on the two occasions that I attended, (I wasn’t really plugged into the Toronto convention scene before 2010,) and I guess I didn’t really value it as much as I could have. Since it’s been running under some name or another for 25 years, I really figured it would continue forever.

But I’m glad that I made a priority out of going to Polaris 26, even though it was a little tricky to schedule it as well as the CSSF workshop in Kansas. I’m going to have a blast, I’m going to spend money like a big shot, I’m going to rack up as many volunteer hours as I can, and I’ll go to the town hall on the future of TCON if they don’t schedule it against the Geek-off finals again. (Or if I don’t qualify for the finals this year.)

Most of all, if there’s another email that arrives in October, saying that TCON is holding a meeting in some library in Toronto to get input from the fan community, I’m damn well going to get off my butt and trek into the city for it, even if I’m not sure what I’m going to say. There were a few of those emails over the past year, and I thought about attending one of the meetings but never actually did anything about them. I don’t imagine that I could have changed this decision if I’d been part of the process… but I should have gone and spoken my piece if I thought of anything to say.

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