Sunday morning marked the forth and final day of Toronto Fan Expo,
Yet despite it being the final day, that did not prevent thousands of fans from enjoying this amazing convention. After four days, fans were still passionate!
Many continued to wear their costumes to the convention, both proud and exited to show off their creativity, along with their love for their favorite genre.
It is said that one of the best ways people express themselves are through their clothes. This is certainly something I can attest to having observed wonderful costumes each of the past three days at Fan Expo Canada!
Even I had now done that with my clothing, I arrived early to the Expo that day wearing my Sanctuary For Kids t-shirt, both in support of the charity, and my role-model, Amanda Tapping, best known for her work on MGM Studios hit series Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, Stargate Universe, and Sanctuary.
Ms. Tapping was was a fan favorite at the convention. For me personally, this was the final turning point of the convention as if the events of previous days were leading to this day.
What I received was much more than I could have asked for. Today was what I jokingly referred to as “All Amanda Tapping day”!
Much to my delight, when I walked up to get my item approved, Amanda saw me, smiled at me, waved and said: “Hi, Mike!”. I can assure you she was not referring to her dear friend Michael Shanks who had visited with Ms. Tapping a few days before Fan Expo Canada (as pictured above).
By this point, I had already met Ms. Tapping several times before. For some reason I was still very much nervous to not only be meeting a remarkable woman who has been my role-model for several years, but also one to many fans around the world.
Even though I was attending her autograph session, I was not there to give Ms. Tapping anything to autograph and return to me. In fact I was there to give her something to keep, something very special that was done by and for her fans, her fan made birthday card, pictured below right.
That was only the start of what was to be my most favorite autograph session ever. After waiting in line for the final time to see Ms. Tapping, I prepared what I had to say. Naturally, a person can not really prepare what you will say to Amanda Tapping, you just talk when you go up there.
Finally, a friend and I walked up to Amanda’s autograph table. Being a touch apprehensive, I tried to “break the ice” by saying to Amanda: “Hi, Amanda, hope you’re not getting tired of me yet.” To which Ms. Tapping replied: “No, not at all, Mike, I’m happy to see you again.”
With the day being Sunday the 26th of August, two days before Amanda Tapping’s birthday on the 28th, we all knew this was a golden opportunity to do something special for a woman who has given fans so much.
The next thing my friend and and I did was give Amanda Tapping her birthday card, the look of joy on her face was priceless. Ms. Tapping looked at the front cover of her birthday card, opening it to the first page. She saw the signatures of some of the fans who signed it. At which point Amanda had such a bright look on her face, both of joy and pride, it warmed my heart!
As Amanda looked through the card, we explained to her how the birthday card came to be, how it was mailed all across the world, how the fans who signed it were more than happy to be apart of it, then noticed that Joe Flanigan and Denny Ilic had signed it (a bonus since I was lucky to receive two very special signatures; one from Joe Flanigan, whom Ms. Tapping had worked with on Stargate Atlantis, and Denny Ilic known on Twitter as Dennydenn, whom has worked with Amanda in several amazing photo shoots.
What made the gesture special is that Ms. Tapping’s birthday card was fan made. The card was made by a friend of mine. Fans had worked together mailing it all around the world so other fans (who expressed interest) could contribute a short and personal message to their role-model, Amanda Tapping!
Many fans signed the card including citizens from Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, The Netherlands, and England. A total of eighteen fans signed the card (credits included at the end of my report).
I shared with Ms. Tapping that even though she had not actually met some of the people who signed it, that she has helped and changed all of their lives for the better. Amanda looked over at Denny, who was sitting next to her at the time, laughed and smiled that indeed, he and Joe Flanigan had signed the birthday card for her.
Ms. Tapping commented on how amazing fans can truly be. A fact proven that day by her fans from all around the world. Amanda Tapping was so touched by the birthday card, the smile on her face was so bright, both of joy and delight.
For me personally, knowing I had a small part in making Amanda Tapping’s day a little brighter was a wonderful feeling demonstrating to her how wonderful her fans are. Wishing her a happy birthday, and giving something back to the woman who has done a lot for me was my reward.
After we gave her the birthday card, I had one last thing to do before leaving, something I knew I had to do. I told her of a very special friend I have, one who has been a little down lately, then I gave her two Sanctuary DVD’s, asked her to sign them, which she gladly did.
I also kindly ask her if it was OK if I could record her wishing my friend a happy birthday on camera, which she said: “Yes, absolutely”. I thanked her for allowing me to do that, then got up to real courage to thank her for what she has done for my friend, myself, as well as others, and for being a role-model.
Ms. Tapping had a humble look on her face, and then she blew me a kiss. Which of course is always a nice bonus! Before leaving her table, I shook her hand, thanked her once again for coming, and wished her a happy birthday. This adventure was my prime mission when I came to Fan Expo Canada in Toronto; to give her the birthday card, wish her a happy birthday, but most of all, ask her to wish my friend a happy birthday on camera, and thank her for all she has done.
For me, being a fan is a lot about giving back to that celebrity you hold in such high regard. Knowing that I was able to give something back to someone who has given me so much is more than I could have asked for coming to Fan Expo Canada. Special thanks to all who signed the card, and for making Amanda Tapping’s birthday that much more special. I walked away from her autograph table feeling so good inside, but I had no time to rest.
My next goal was to explore the rest of the convention, as well as get my second photo-op with Joe Flanigan! Then I was off to get the Marvel legend, Stan Lee to autograph my Spider-Man movie set. On Blu-ray of course!
I headed over to where Mr. Flanigan was having his photo-op session, but on the way I took a little stroll down memory lane. I went back to see the famed DeLorean from Back to the Future. One of the most fun items was that admirers could have a photo with Christopher Lloyd inside the car.
I also got a chance to see some familiar Star Wars figures as well, which I am still impressed by the detail in the costume. Even Snow White herself was nice enough to come down, join the Expo and pose for a nice picture.
I arrived in the room where Joe Flanigan is having is photo-op, of course the line was quite long, however I did not mind because I had time to spend. After roughly thirty minutes, I had my photo-op with Mr. Joe Flanigan. He is a very handsome man, quite friendly with his fans, as good or better than any celebrity is Thanks Joe!
I quickly returned to the the attraction room, where Stan Lee was signing autographs, his long was also quite long with fans standing and waiting to meet the Marvel legend himself.
Like Amanda Tapping, John Barrowman (Doctor Who, Torchwood), I felt a bit overwhelmed to be in the presence of such a great man. I gathered my courage, and gave him my Spider-Man movie set for him to autograph. Of course I shook his hand, thanked for being here, which he kindly thanked me for coming as well.
It was a bittersweet moment for me, but I knew this would not be the last time I would attend this amazing convention, and hopefully next year if luck is on my side, I can return to Toronto Fan Expo Canada.
I quickly ran over to the other big event I had been waiting for since the convention started, the Amanda Tapping photo-op. One thing I have learned by now is that one any convention books Ms. Tapping as a guest, they had better be big enough to accommodate her massive amounts of fans who follow her to these events.
Her photo-op line was amazingly long, with many fans lining up from one end of the hallway to the other, they wait hours in line just to have their photo taken with such a popular icon. In my experience, photo-op sessions are as special as autographs because it allows fans to have that chance to have their time with their favorite celebrity. This is something that is near and dear to the hearts of many fans.
Of note, Ms. Tapping’s line was the longest I have ever seen, but luckily my friends and I arrived early and were ready for our photo opportunity.
We were so early in fact that we were inside the photo-op room with an unexpected bonus. We saw Ms. Tapping enter the room, followed by many cheers from her fans. Amanda looked absolutely stunning as she posed with fans during the photo-op. Ms. Tapping is very well known amongst her fans as taking the time to get to know them, not simply shaking their hand, say a few words, then be done.
Ms. Tapping takes the time to connect with fans, which is something many fans, myself included hold close to the heart. I enjoyed watching my friends go up before I did, because I enjoyed watching them have their moment with Amanda, and seeing Amanda happy to see some familiar faces.
I waited in line nervously, but that ended when I finally got up to have my photo taken with Amanda Tapping. She was so kind as she welcomed me up by calling me by my name. I asked her if we could have a hug photo together, which she was more than happy to do.
We had our photo, I shook her hand once again, thanked her for coming, then she thanked me by calling me “sweetheart”. Which was a big bonus for me. 😉 Having the chance to have a photo taken with your favorite celebrity is something that every fan holds dear to them, and it is something I walk away from happy and proud every time.
One thing that impressed me very much was seeing a fan dress up as one of Amanda Tapping’s most popular characters, Dr. Helen Magnus. I would like to thank Jakie Laf (ladygalaxyj) by allowing me to use this awesome photo.
Once again the line-up of fans waiting to attend was massive. This came as no surprise. The very long lines of fans seem to follow Amanda Tapping to any convention she attends. Many fans could be seen lining up outside the ballroom.
I was lucky enough to be close to the line with friends, then the doors to the panel opened. I found myself in the third row, which is not bad considering the huge attendance.
Another thing that is expected with Amanda Tapping at a convention is a full panel room. Hall G of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre has an approximate capacity of 11,000 people. When I looked around just before the panel started, I do not think there was one empty seat!
Finally the awesome co-host of InnerSPACE, from Canada’s Space Channel, Teddy Wilson entered the ballroom. Teddy was greeted by deafening cheers from the fans. After a quick introduction, Teddy welcomed the star of the hour, Amanda Tapping on stage! Of course what followed was loud roars and cheers from the fans. Ms. Tapping received a standing ovation from many who stood up to cheer her loud and proud!
After the cheering settled, Amanda took a seat next to Teddy Wilson. It was obvious Mr. Wilson is clearly is a fan of Ms. Tapping himself. Just before the panel officially began, a group of men in Stargate SG-1 uniforms stood up. Each gave Ms. Tapping a loud and proud salute, which Amanda Tapping promptly returned!
This was a proud moment for me to see men in SG-1 uniforms showing Amanda Tapping the proper respect by starting her panel with a salute. The scene was obviously an homage to Samantha Carter, one of Ms. Tapings most famous characters. It was a proud moment for any Amanda Tapping fan to see firsthand.
The following is as near accurate transcript of the questions and answers Amanda Tapping was asked during her panel. I would like to thank Jessica De Vries (Jess_Marissa) for helping with transcription of Ms. Tapping’s questions and answers.
Teddy Wilson asked: “Sam Carter and Helen Magnus are at dinner together, what do they talk about?” A: “They talk about a boy named Jack.” *In Sam Carter voice* “I have a Jack.” *Helen Magnus voice* “Oh really, I have a Jack too.” Q: “Would they get along?”
A: “Oh yeah, yeah, they’d definitely get along. Yeah… it might come to an arm wrestle by the end of the evening but… Q: “Who wins the arm wrestle?” *Crowd yelling Carter OR Magnus* A: “YES!!! What you said!”
*This question was a two art question*
Q1: “In terms of being an actress and director and a female in the industry what is something you’re passionate about, that you’d like to see more of?”
Q2: “With working on SG1, I’m sure everybody would like to know this. What’s it like working with MacGyver?”
A1: “I’ll start with your second question first. I’ve said this many times and stand by my story. He is amazing, He is a great guy, he could have come in with a huge amount of ego, being MacGyver and being sort of a pop culture reference but he didn’t. He was very humble and really sweet and so easy to work with and a big kid. He was probably the goofiest member of SG1, well clearly he was the goofiest member. And he brought something to the character of Jack that evolved over the seasons but that was pure Rick so he is absolutely lovely.”
A2: “So the first part of your question, what am I passionate about as a woman in this industry is getting more women into this industry *Followed by an applause from the crowd* It’s important to me that I mentor when I can, young women who are coming forward and you know I have worked with Women In Film and I have a lot of women come up to me and I’ve been able to bring them onto set and show them green screen technology for example, or like people shadow me while I’m directing and I just think that it is really important that we appreciate the work and push each other forward.”
Q3: “You said that MacGyver is easy to work with, humble, professional but what is Richard Dean Anderson like?”
A3: “HE’S A DICK! MacGyver is great but Rick wowoowww… No I’m kidding… he’s amazing. HE’S MACGYVER!”
Q4: Thank you for being so amazingly kind and gracious to everyone this weekend. I think a lot of us would like to know, if Jack & Sam were real, what would they’d be doing right now?” A4: *Silence, thinking* “Fishing! Fishing in the little lake by the cabin and I’d be mixing up Martinis or something would be hanging out on the dock, having a little chit chat… watch the sunset… go back to the cabin.. you know… stuff!”
*Next person in line*: NOW THAT’S GOING ON YT! Amanda: This panel is already on Youtube!
Q5: “If you had to give one piece of advice to your fans, as far as actors and actresses what would it be?”
A5: “DO IT! Wow I sound like a Nike ad! Ah, Yeah… I had a lot of detractors saying that I should not pursue acting. My parents were very worried about me and I did it, I said no, this is really what I wanna do and I put myself through University, I just did it through a lot of adversity and a lot of great good fortunes. So I’m a huge opponent of following what you wanna do I don’t want to say “Follow your dreams” because that sounds so lame! But, REALLY FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS!! Life is short and I know people who have waited until their 40’s to do what they really love and have found great success so, yeah you gotta do it!”
Q6: “Basically my favorite thing about Sanctuary was that it was so hope giving and emotional that people who never belonged were given a safe place. Does that come from a place in real life?”
A6: “Great question, Damian Kindler actually wrote the show with that in mind and the pilot was very much what he wrote. What we sort of mandated is throughout the course of the show there was a real sense of belonging for everyone. And it was really important to all of us, we have a lot of lesbian, gay and transgender friends and we wanted them to be represented.
I have a brother with a disability and it is really important to me that he be represented in a way that, you know, where it is like he may not have been validated walking down the streets of Toronto because he looked a bit weird and he acted a bit weird.
But, he was an amazing human being. And so we all came from a place where we had a personal experience with people who had been marginalized and that’s basically what the show… I’m getting emotional sorry… that’s what the show is about, it’s not marginalizing anyone and leaving everyone feeling a sense of belonging and worth and value. And with that our own experiences it was really important to us that came across.”
Those are some of her best questions and answers from the panel. Each fan who got up to asked a question took a moment to first thank Amanda for something she has done for them personally, or being a wonderful role-model. The praise and respect each fan showed her speaks volumes of Ms. Tapping, and her fans. Amanda Tapping gave each fan who got up to ask a question her full attention, and would show them respect by responding to them by name.
One part of the panel that impressed greatly was after half an hour, it was time for her panel to end, but there were still fans waiting to ask Ms. Tapping a question. Amanda did not like that some fans waited in line to ask a question, but would not get the chance, so she told her handler, Julie Caitlin Brown that she would meet up with her later, therefore she was allowed to stay for a full hour to continue to answer more fan questions.
As an admirer of Amanda Tapping, I was very proud to be witness to this, I have heard stories like this before, but to actually in see her bend the rules once again in order to make her fans happy and give them a chance to be heard is only one more reason why I have such high respect for this wonderful woman.
Finally, the panel came to a close, Teddy Wilson gave the amazing Amanda Tapping lovely farewell, which she of course stood up to waved to the fans, and thanked them for coming. Just before she walked off, a large portion of the crowed all shouted out at once: “Happy Birthday, Amanda!”
Ms. Tapping had a bright look of pride and joy as her face as she waved once again, smiled, then walked off stage. That was not planned, it was simply something that happened in the spur of the moment. It is one more reason why Amanda Tapping fans, (a strong woman as discussed in the Space Channel video below) are simply the best fans out there!
That concludes my final report of the amazing Fan Expo Canada convention, in the wonderful city of Toronto, which is Canada at its best. Thank you all for taking the time to read my report. And for those who actually read it all, I express even more sincere thanks.
I had so much fun at this convention, only my second event, I am so proud it took place in Toronto, all of which adds to the glory of the city. Plus it’s close to home. This convention did more for me than show me a good time, it helped me fulfill a few dreams of mine; Having the chance to wish my role-model a happy birthday. Thank Ms. tapping for being the amazing role-model countless fans around the world know her to be.
I take my memories, experiences from this convention and I look forward to what is yet to come. Thank you all for reading, and I hope you will read again when my AT6 report comes along in the near future.
“Live Peace – Speak Kindness – Dwell in Possibility” – Amanda Tapping
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Amanda Tapping birthday card signatories: Michelle Linardis (SanctuaryAngel), Karissa Webster (thunder_67au), Andrea Buyer (AndreaKoeln), Jandyra “Champa” Maciel (JandyraCJM), Mini Fish (_rae__rae_), Janelle McLeod (SmileyGidget), Michelle “Chelle” DeBoer (OrientalLilly), Kat Joy (katjoy05) Tasha Alyssa (2ManyObsessions), Marouschka Bronkhorst (Marousj), Andrada Miere (AndryPresh), Tamesha Thomas (SanctuaryGurl22), Nadine Halfter (pumpkinnubbin), Sophie Orchard (sophie141095), Fella Méridja (flolie6) Max Thomas (RippersGirl452), card creator Wendy Phillips (Replicarter0822), and myself.