Saturday morning marked day three of Toronto Fan Expo Canada,
For me professionally and personally, this was the turning point at the Metro Toronto Convention Center , as though the previous two days had been leading up to the weekend.
Saturday was the day that not only my favorite celebrity would be appearing, but is a talented woman who I had the privilege to meet at Dragon Con last year (click here to read my DragonCon 2011 report).
As all my friends, and even co-workers know, Amanda Tapping has been my role-model and inspiration for several years now.
As from the previous days, the attraction was packed full of excited and passionate fans. I arrived at the Expo early, I wanted to attend her autograph session first, when I got there, I could not believe my eyes, as it had been almost a year since I last saw the woman who I have such tremendous respect and admiration for.
I am proud that my first memory of her at the expo was of her holding a little baby boy on her autograph table. Both Ms. Tapping and the child had big smiles on their faces. Such behavior is a true a testimony to Amanda Tapping’s that parents would trust her enough let Ms. Tapping hold their child at these events, as well as how young her fans appear to be!
Even though I arrived early, her autograph line was really, very long. As is to be excepted. Ms. Tapping’s line was so long in fact, fans who were in her line had to take number tickets then go up to see her handler, Julie Caitlin Brown. Science fiction fans will recall that Ms. Brown is fondly known from her role on Babylon 5.
You would then show Ms. Brown what you wanted signed, as well as your name, or that of a friend. I felt this system was very smart with a clearly identified schedule put up to allow fans to know when Amanda’s autograph times would be conducted.
I was in line for a good hour, which I felt was enough time to collect my thoughts, but I was not alone in line. My friend Andrea Buyer (AndreaKoeln) was with me. Ms. Buyer is an admirer of Amanda Tapping just like millions of fans, including me.
As a fan, it fills me with an extra sense of pride seeing Ms. Tapping’s lines so long. As a professional, the long lines demonstrate how many people are more than happy to take the time to wait patiently, often for hours, just to meet her. In my opinion, that is what a great fan is, expressing who they are with admiration, not negative actions.
Why do fans and admirers wait hours in line, waiting, excited, nervous? They do so to get that to get that first glimpse of their favourite celebrity, then getting the opportunity to talk to them.
For many, if not all fans, meeting their favourite celebrity is like a dream come. When it is over, all said and done, fans and admirers can share with their friends how they met their idol. Each person will have their own unique story to share with others. I was also pleased, in fact happy to hear fans around me talking about the amazing positive impact Amanda Tapping has had on their lives.
The end of the line was fast approaching. As I looked over, I could see Ms. Tapping greeting a fan. As always, she maintains a warm and generous approach with fans, which helps put them at ease while talking to such an amazing icon in the science fiction genre.
Finally, Andrea and I got up to her table. I was a bit nervous, but nothing could have prepared me for what happened next! Amanda Tapping actually stood up out of her chair, reached over the table, then gave both of us a hug, and much to my surprise, she gave me a hug first!
Amazingly, Ms. Tapping remembered our names! Of course we were respectful, but still very impressed by Amanda Tapping whom millions of people admire. However, Ms. Tapping quickly put us at ease by being the kind person fans know she is. One thing Ms. Tapping is known very well for among fans, is giving them eye contact as she speaks to them, or as they speak to her.
This admirable behaviour also occurs as well when Ms. Tapping is asking them questions to the fans themselves. Can anyone doubt this is something that closes the gap between fan and celebrity a little bit, thus making it more like two people simply talking?
Ms. Tapping was kind enough to sign our items, as she did, Andrea and I thanked her for taking the time to come down to the Expo, she said she was happy to be there with a smile on her face, then thanked us for coming as well. I told Amanda that the day I learned she was coming to the Expo, was on my birthday, and I told her it was the same say she tweeted me wishing me a happy birthday. Amanda then says to me: “Oh, that’s right, I did, well, happy birthday to you again” Amanda asked Andrea when arrived.
Andrea, even having met Amanda several times, still had trouble finding her words, thus giving Amanda different answers. Our time at the autograph session came to a close, but we thanked her one more time, which she returned back to us, and as a kind gesture, I thanked Ms. Brown for being there as well.
Naturally, I keep such a valuable piece of memorabilia in my safe at home!
On a more personal note, the fact that my idol would actually get up out of her table to give me a hug, calling me by name is more than I could have asked for.
I would return later that day to ask Amanda to sign a photo of one of her most popular characters, Dr. Helen Magnus from Sanctuary, publicity photo of herself for a friend, but I decided to explore the convention first, also because her line was still so long, and I wanted to return when it was not as busy.
I continued to explore the convention, the costumes where as unique as they had been from the previous two days, as this fan dressed as one of the Transformers was more than happy to show off the craftsmanship of the costume.
This being my third day at the convention, I was still fascinated by the level of skill and design put into these costumes by the fans, which should come to no surprise as conventions are the perfect event, other than Halloween, to wear their love for their genres on their body.
Being on such a high from meeting Amanda Tapping again, the day was going quite well for me so far, and not even a visit from Death himself could ruin that.
After exploring the convention, it was time for my first photo-op of the day, my photo with Doctor Who and Torchwood star, John Barrowman. He had a rather long line, one in which I stood in for over an hour, but I enjoyed getting to know the fans around me, which I feel is another testimony to how easy it is to make new friends at these events. It is so easy for anyone, from anywhere in the world to come to these events, and be apart of one big fan community. Age, gender, race, none of that mattered for this is the kind of event where anyone can come to, and be apart of something special.
After the long wait in line, I finally got inside the room where Mr. Barrowman was getting photo-ops with fans, he comes out to apologize to the fans for the delay, but promised everyone who waited will get their photo-ops. He then happily states: “I’m making a lot of money today, folks.” My turn came to have my photo taken with him, it was a nice treat for me that he remembered who I was, we then did a hug photo, and at the very end, he gave me a nice tight bear hug. I liked it by the way. I thanked him again for his time, shook his hand, and went off to pick up my photo. I must say, it was not half bad.
Finally, I returned to the attractions room, where the autograph session was taking place. This was before Amanda Tapping returned to sign my autographs, I was there to ask Joe Flanigan to sign a birthday card for Ms. Tapping, one that was created by Wendy Phillips (replicarter8022) and mailed all around the world to her fans so they could sign for her. After having 18 signatures from fans from such places as Australia, New Zealand, Romania, America, the UK, and severally other countries.
For some reason Mr. Flanigan was late returning to his table, but when he finally did, we were quite surprised that he was in crutches. Fans in line asked each other what had happened to him, but he was all smiles when he got back to his table. I walked up, gave him the birthday card for Amanda, he thought it was quite lovely looking, which is when I explained to him what it was all about, he then asked when her birthday was, I told him, he thanked me for telling him that, and I thanked him for signing it, then went on my way. After meeting up with Andrea again some time later, we explored the attraction room a little better before returning to Ms. Tapping’s autograph line.
We found ourselves in the art gallery section, and much to my enjoyment, we found some amazing pieces of fan artwork, including sculptures, quilts and of course, paintings. The level of creativity and detail that go into the art fans put together is fascinating.
Three pieces of artwork that grabbed my attention were three brilliant paintings of Sanctuary characters, such as Helen Magnus, Will Zimmerman, and Henry Foss. Being a Sanctuary fan myself, I was glad to see fans making artwork dedicated to the show, and things like this really make me proud.
One of the reasons I wanted to wait to return Amanda’s autograph line was so I could give her a birthday card, along with a letter, without the large crowd and noise. It was a birthday card and letter on behalf of my best friend, Michelle Linardis (SanctuaryAngel). Michelle and I mailed Amanda a small parcel for her birthday back in 2010, which Michelle asked Amanda about at the Australia convention, Gate to the Sanctuary. Amanda got it and liked it by the way.
As we waited in line, we chatted with the awesome photographer, Denny Ilic (Dennydenn). He was a very lovely man to talk to, he even made a joke about me using a Nikon camera., which apparently is a camera is a type of camera he rivals with. A short time later, Andrea and I were next to speak to Amanda at her autograph table.
We noticed that there was a little girl before us, she could not have been more than four or five years old who was dressed as a cowgirl. The little girl talked to Amanda briefly. Before walking up to her table onto of the platform, we witnessed the little girl give Ms. Tapping a light hug!
Ms. Tapping allowed the little girls father to take a picture of them together. It was such a sweet moment to see Amanda Tapping interacting with one of her youngest fans. Ms. Tapping and the little girl looked very happy, which is another testimony to how young fans of Amanda Tapping can be!
It was now Andrea’s and my time to speak to Amanda, as we walked up Amanda apologized for keeping us waiting, she said she does not like to keep little children waiting. I thought that was a very nice reason. I handed over the birthday card to Amanda on behalf of Michelle.
Ms. Tapping looked at it with a lovely smile on her face, thus thanking me for giving it to her on Michelle’s behalf. Amanda admired the artwork inside the card, which she thought was very creative and clever. It was a drawing of her as Helen Magnus of Sanctuary, along side a small Nubbin.
Andrea spook to Amanda Tapping regarding a charity dinner that was taking place that night at the local restaurant, The Loose Moose, the dinner was to raise money on behalf of Sanctuary For Kids, the charity Amanda Tapping helped create back in 2009. Amanda was proud to hear that fans were taking the initiative to hold a charity event of our own.
Andrea asked Amanda if she would like to attend. Ms. Tapping said she would try, but could not promise anything. Ms. Tapping did indicate she was grateful for what we were doing. Andrea gave Amanda two photos of herself as Helen Magnus, so they they could be auctioned off at the dinner, Amanda was more than happy to sign them. We said good-bye to Amanda, and thanked her once again for attending the convention, she smiled while saying it was her pleasure to be there, she even thanked us for being there. 🙂
The third day of Fan Expo had come to an end, but it was now time to had to The Loose Moose restaurant for the Sanctuary For Kids charity dinner. It was a very fun event, the dinner was from 8pm-11pm, and the amount of fans who attended to support Sanctuary For Kids was impressive. The restaurant had a very lovely decor, with very well service, and amazing food.
The Sanctuary For Kids dinner raised over $600, which is quite impressive since it was a rather small event, put together by fans who genuinely care for the charity, and were more than happy to spread the legacy of the Sanctuary Series.
During the charity auction event conducted at the dinner that raised money for Sanctuary for Kids, I won a signed photo of Amanda Tapping as Halen Magnus for $30.
Saturday of the Toronto Fan Expo Canada event had come to an end now, thus ending my third day in Toronto attending Fan Expo Canada. The third day for me was the best so far, but the forth and final day would be even better, both as a fan, and a person as well. And yes, it has to do with Amanda Tapping, but that will all be in my forth and final report of Toronto Fan Expo coming soon.
Thanks to Kenn for audio embedding, hyper-linking and putting finishing touches on my Toronto Fan Expo day three report.
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