Another Great Turn Out for C4 Central Canada Comic Con

Another C4 Central Canada Comic Con has come and gone on Halloween weekend and when the numbers are finally counted in full, it is likely to be the best attended one in Winnipeg history. The newly expanded RBC Winnipeg Convention Centre was put to full use for the first time for C4. The weather cooperated and despite both Blue Bomber and Jets game occurring Saturday and Sunday, attendance did not seem to wain in the least.

William Shatner led a Friday panel on 50 years of Star Trek. The Pan Am room on the second floor hosted several other panels over the three days and the Theatre room hosted celebrity Question and Answer time.


The Good

So what was the best and worst of the this year’s outing?

People: The people are what make C4 amazing. Lots of innovative costumes from men, women and children. It is truly a great family day. Lots of people watching and just enjoying the day. The weather cooperated which only encouraged more and more people to go.

Volunteers: There are an abundance of volunteers who directed people around and were both inside and outside the building. It is a strength of C4 that they have this many people to help.

Costumes: More and more people are wearing costumes and that makes for a great convention.

Arena: The open space of the Arena this year was a great size for displaying light sabre battles and the like. There should be even more use of this area next year.

Signage: The overhead signs were a good way to navigate. Sadly, I didn’t get a map till mid-way through. It also included a schedule of events. I didn’t see too many of those around!

Alleys: There was a Cosplay Alley and an Artist Alley, etc. A very good idea and more organized this year than ever before. Would love to see more to help with navigation.

Food Area: This has been a sticking point for years but this year the second floor had an area to sit and to order food. A huge improvement. At many tables, it just look like families were using the time to rest a bit before resuming their fun. A little lunch, a little rest and back up to the third floor convention.

Cosplay: This year the Cosplay Alley featured in the main space and very popular selection of artists. This was a great idea and a good use of the expanded space. My only observation was that it may have even been better if the Costume Alliance and some related groups were all in that area. What star power then!

There were some huge improvements to this year’s C4 so there is a learning curve as to how best utilize the space in the expanded RBC Winnipeg Convention Centre.

Website: It is not too bad and has good information on guests and events. I can’t speak for phone apps but is a good start to any C4 adventure. It would good to see even more updates on on all social media.

So those were some of the best, what are some of the worst?

Line-ups: Simply getting into the convention can be a chore, Haven’t got a ticket…must stand in line, arrived at noon, stand in line, want an autograph…stand in line. Now, success can do that and even San Diego’s Comic Con suffers from this complaint. Fortunately weather cooperated but it could easily have been snow or rain and families standing outside probably would not wait too long before abandoning the day. No easy solutions here but it is something to think about for future tickets sales and event planning. Thankfully, lots of volunteers out helping people.

LAN Party: The large area network gaming area is not really part of Comic Con. I don’t care for it on the third floor convention site. It is a separate thing with it own admission, takes up a lot of space and is not visually appealing. My opinion is that it should be moved to the first floor.

Genre Cars: I like them but the best place and most vehicles we ever saw was when they were in the loading dock area. This time wrestling was there. Would prefer cars there and wrestling where the LAN party is.

Celebrities: There were a few, most notably William Shatner, but it was a little lighter compared to a few years ago. Granted, they have more Cosplay people but TV and film stars still are an attractive feature. This year, like many years, saw last minute cancellations but it is good when the numbers of people are varied and deep.

Lay Out: Despite improvements on lay-out this years including a proper dining area on the second floor, the floor lay-out on the third floor could be better. Pipe and draping and skirting around the tables makes it easier for vendors and for convention goers it is more visually appealing and provides clear line for traffic.

Program and Map: I got a map but not when I got my wristband. It had a schedule on it. The map was extremely tiny in terms of printing. Calgary and Toronto Comic Cons both have program books. Would love to see in Winnipeg.

Don’t want to be too critical of such a great event that attracts tens of thousands of people. The newly expanded convention centre opens up so many exciting possibilities. New sponsors and the like could also enhance the weekend event to include aspects not conceived of yet for the genre crowd.

It is had not to see a stronger movie studio presence in coming years with previews of movie trailers, visits by movie directors and writers and ever more stars.

The new construction of a hotel and public square between the MTS Centre and the RBC Winnipeg Convention Centre could play a role for incoming guests and break-out sessions and after parties. The timing of Halloween around C4 is an advantage.

Here’s to many more years of the Central Canada Comic Con!

This has been a guest editorial by John Dobbin.
To read more from John, visit his blog Observations, Reservations, Conversations