The Toronto Comics Arts Festival, Canada’s world renowned comics festival has announced their 2022 return to an in person festival after missing 2020 and going fully virtual in 2021. Moving from mother’s day weekend in May to father’s day weekend in June. Now you will not have to disappoint your mother by choosing comics over her. June 17-19 is the new date, which may be easier for university students to attend or volunteer but otherwise I don’t think the new date will effect people’s ability to attend. The Friday June 17 as before will be professional development panels for creators and probably some other events before the main exhibition opens on the weekend.
If you can’t make it in person then there will still be online panels and marketplace. From the creators I asked after this year’s online edition, I don’t think sales were that high so it will be interesting to see if any improvements to the online marketplace work out better for creators. TCAF is one of the best shows for creators to sell books as attendees are eager to buy books as opposed to the other merchandise at major pop culture events. Though no one expected online sales to meet that high bar, my understanding is it was still disappointing for creators this year. On top of that logistically it was slow to gather the purchased copies from all creators and re-pack them for delivery to customers, taking two months to fulfill orders.
Needless to say I am very happy for a return to in person TCAF as creator panels are much more engaging in person and easier to ask questions. It is still too early for any major headlining guest announcements and certainly any future travel restrictions are unpredictable so even announced guests should not be considered guaranteed to attend. Other recent conventions have had many cancellations of celebrity guests but to be fair there are usually some of those due to professional reasons.
The festival will continue to be based in the Toronto Reference Library as it has for many years, plus some nearby locations perhaps the nearby Mariott Hotel which appears to be rebranding as W Toronto. This wasn’t necessarily a certainty as the festival was upset with Toronto Public Library’s decision in 2019 to book an event with a known transphobic speaker. They have also been nearing capacity limits for the main library in their last in person shows. That concern might be alleviated in 2021 as physical attendance could still take time to recover to pre-pandemic levels. However it will be difficult to find a large venue that is financially feasible. I’m not sure this issue is as urgent as the festival just tries to return at all or maybe more recent decisions by the library has alleviated the backlash from a one time incident. We’ll see if future shows do indeed move location.
APPLICATIONS TO EXHIBIT at TCAF 2022 are open until January 26, 2022. Exhibitors will choose a preference of exhibiting online or in-person, or both! International exhibitors are welcome. CLICK HERE TO APPLY. Creators who accepted in 2020 who did not take their deferral in 2021 are given priority according to their application form.