Why ConBravo Should Be On Your Radar

August 13, 2015 1 By Kaitlyn Smith

ConBravo 2015. My first time going. I was looking forward to this convention simply because I had never been. I heard good things about it, though mostly that it was on the smaller end, so I didn’t expect too much. I thought I’d go there and enjoy a quaint little con.

How I underestimated this convention! They impressed and delivered in every way imaginable. Let’s get to it.

I headed down, unassuming, with our GCE photographer Kris but from the moment we walked in, I noticed one, essential thing that I’ve never had the pleasure of experiencing at a convention before: there was space. EVERYWHERE! I could stop at the information booth in the hall without impeding traffic in any way. And the dealer’s room? There was space in there too!

If you’re an avid con-goer you’ll understand the frustration of slowly plotting through narrow alleys of artists and exhibitors, uncomfortably making contact with every other person in the vicinity. At ConBravo, I could stick my arms out in both directions if I wanted to, without fear of hitting anyone—not because it wasn’t busy—but because the alleys were a good 2-3 times wider than cons usually make them. I can’t even put into words how much less stress that put on me throughout the weekend. We were able to move around the entire con freely and I don’t think I had to excuse myself even once.

The layout of the con itself was interesting. The Hamilton Convention Centre was the main building while the rest of the con was across the street (or the long way across the bridge) at the Sheraton Hamilton Hotel. We took the long way the first time but by the time we got to the hotel, I didn’t even mind. We passed good photo-op locations, access to the outdoor pavilion with great scenery and the hotel? Absolutely lovely with gorgeous furnishings and once again: spacious. There were full-on photo shoots being held in the lobby and the hallways, and they didn’t even obstruct the traffic of convention patrons nor the hotel guests.

The hotel reminds me of a key ingredient at conventions, if you will: food. When we got hungry, we wandered over to the mall attached to the Sheraton hotel. Excuse me? Oh, yes, I said the mall. One with a food court and a Bubble Tea spot and a sushi restaurant. There were a couple of other full restaurants like the Honest Lawyer, where we enjoyed delicious food at a decent price. (Decently priced food at a con? I know, I know. But it was EVERYWHERE.) OH! And a Dollarama! Junk food and snacks, too? Be still, my beating heart!

But back to the convention itself!

Now besides the amazing areas and panel rooms in the hotel, and an endless supply of food across the street, the convention had a lot to offer. And I mean a lot. The convention was packed with amazing panels too! My favourite panel of the entire weekend was the PoKéMoN Jeopardy Game Show (no surprise if you know me well) where I got to unleash my inner 8 year old alongside a bunch of other geeks “my age”. I had a blast answering the first generation questions the contestants couldn’t get, despite being utterly lost and confused at everything that came after about 2004…

ConBravo also afforded patrons the opportunity to see their favourite YouTubers in action and meet them one-on-one. I myself had an impromptu interaction with AlphaOmegaSin outside after the con and, can I just say, he’s even more awesome in real life. I didn’t want to take him away from his friends as they were on their way to dinner, but he stopped graciously when I complimented him on his work and in turn complimented me on the casual cosplay I was donning (and he asked to take a picture with me!). Though this was an off-the-cuff occurrence, every guest I encountered had the same gracious nature about them when I ran into a couple of them in the dealer’s room and exhibited the same openness in their panels.

If, for some reason, nourishing yourself after a long day, going to panels or meeting your favourite online personalities aren’t your thing, don’t worry. ConBravo will still have something for you.

Like the Electronic Gaming Hall. Competitive online gaming, 8-person Super Smash Bros. tournaments, an arcade section with more Dance Dance Revolution than the 2000s combined and big-screen projections?! Yes, please!!! Other classic titles like Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter and SSB Melee were also on tap for the weekend-long tournaments with monetary awards dished out to the first, second and third place winners (but can we talk DDR?! I can never hear Butterfly played too many times!).

Even though the Gaming Hall was full of colourful screens containing all of my life-long loves, the most exhilarating event of the weekend was, easily, the Archery District event. We stopped by for some pictures and ended up staying for the whole event on Saturday and Sunday. This unique setup boasted 3-on-3 timed matches where competitors eliminated their opponents dodgeball-style using a bow and [foam] arrow. Check out our gallery for a slice of the action below!

Now, to round off this review, I am someone who never—and I mean never—buys stuff at conventions. NEVER. At ConBravo, I couldn’t keep myself out of the dealer’s room. (I almost couldn’t keep my money in my wallet!) The selection of merchandise available and artist wares being sold were incredible. I wanted something from every booth I passed. I don’t know if ConBravo curates their artists and dealers beforehand but it most certainly seemed like they must. I was impressed and my wallet was barren. A combination I was more than happy with. If you want to check it out for yourself, we’ve got you covered with our seller feature!

Needless to say, after all of this: ConBravo exceeded my expectations. The weekend was jam-packed with so many events, panels, people and stuff that I had the best time I have ever had at any convention. I can. Not. WAIT to visit them again next year and see what else they have planned!

Did you go to ConBravo? Is there anything we missed? Let us know about your experience in the comments!