by BK Munn
The Doug Wright Awards, the Canadian cartooning event scheduled as usual for TCAF in May, will still go ahead as planned, but perhaps in a different form, according to Conan Tobias, the director of the Awards.
In a statement posted today, Tobias noted, “the Doug Wright Awards will still happen this year, but whether that means our usual event with an audience or something virtual, we can’t say for sure right now. We expect we’ll make a decision one way or another in the next couple of weeks. Rest assured, there will still be (fully sanitized) trophies for the winners, handed out in some form of entertaining fashion.”
TCAF posted an update late March 13th reflecting City of Toronto edicts:
all public libraries in the City of Toronto are going to be closed for the next 3 weeks, until April 6th, along with a host of other services in the city. This was also the same time libraries learned they were going to be closed, so you can imagine the speed at which these decisions are being made.
We also learned today that the Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health is recommending the immediate suspension of all events and public gatherings over 250 people.
Because of this, we strongly recommend against making any purchases regarding transportation or accommodation to attend TCAF at this time. TCAF’s official hotel block is offering reservation cancellations with full refund, and Air Canada is offering no-fee flight changes. Exhibitors are also still able to cancel participation with no penalty and receive a full refund.
TCAF is currently moving forward because it falls outside of these windows, but that could change very quickly.
END OF UPDATE
As for the Toronto Comic Arts Festival itself, according to an update posted on March 11, the event is still going ahead with advanced precautions, although large gatherings may be on the cusp of being clamped down.
According to TCAF:
At this point, both festivals will be moving forward, with enhanced cleaning procedures at venues, and additional cleaning/sanitizing materials made available to exhibitors and the public.
The health and the well-being of everyone involved is our paramount concern. We are closely monitoring updates from Centres of Disease Control, Emergency Management Agencies, the Public Health Agency of Canada, local health agencies, and other official sources for the latest risk assessment. At the time of writing (March 11, 2020), public health officials in Canada have assessed that the risk of COVID-19 transmission remains low, and they have specifically not requested that events be cancelled. We encourage individuals to seek direct updates from public health officials going forward. Regular updates from the Public Health Agency of Canada are being posted on their official website.
TCAF and VanCAF exist to support creators and generate professional, artistic, and opportunities to them, and we remain committed to that vision. We encourage creators to make the best choices for themselves, and weigh the pros and cons of any actions. If exhibitors at either show wish to cancel their participation, they may do so and receive a refund of table fees. We only ask that exhibitors please contact the appropriate email address (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org) as soon as possible to allow us to open up space on our waitlist. If you are exhibiting but unsure of your travel arrangements, please plan accordingly and book flexible travel options that will allow you to cancel or postpone with minimal financial penalty.