Tricon: geek community and nerf gun wars

It turns out hanging amongst stormtroopers and Princess Bubblegum at a local convention isn&rsquo;t a bad way to spend a Saturday.&nbsp;</p>

Having started in 2014, Tricon has grown in terms of guests, vendors, and space in a short period of time, from occupying just the atrium of Themuseum to now taking up all five floors, plus part of the Conrad Centre. 

Tricon focuses on anime, gaming, and comics. While small compared to nerd giants like Anime North and Toronto Fan Expo, the focus on community and a casual atmosphere is what makes Tricon unique. From local chain mail artisans to a Harry Potter sorting hat panel, Tricon has a little something for everyone.

 “The whole thing around Tricon is that it’s an awesome place for people in this community to come together and celebrate together. Kitchener has such a vibrant and active community of people in anime, video gaming, and comics so Tricon is the one spot everyone can come and hang out for a really cool weekend,” said Robyn Cheng, the partnerships and special events co-ordinator at Themuseum.

A community, according to Cheng, that is in part thanks to the startup tech culture in Kitchener-Waterloo. This is not surprising when even just UW, with its penchant for gaming and geek culture, is taken into account. This “geek culture” extends past just anime and gaming, though.

“We have a little dabbling in everything, but we find we are pretty heavy in the cosplay, and that the community here is really into that,” Cheng said. “There’s just so much talent in this community.”

There were many familiar faces cosplayed amongst the crowd, including Link, Zelda, Korra, and Predator. Dedication is not a prerequisite to cosplaying, though, as seen in the case of Paul Birsley who dressed up as Star Wars Rebels’ Kanan Jarrus: “I decided to whip this together in a week and a half … I had a couple friends here, so why not?” he said.

While the numbers or events may not be as larger in comparison to other conventions in North America, a small selection of events such as a Nerf Gun Wars and The Science (or lack of science) Behind Science Fiction resonate with attendees according to the organizers.

“It’s been an overwhelming amount of support from the immediate community,” Lizz DiCesare, the marketing and communications co-ordinator for Themuseum stated.

Local artist Raymung Ong agreed, “I like the casual space, the calmness of it all.”

It was easy to breeze through the selection of shops without bustling crowds elbowing each other for Harry Potter memorabilia, or, in Ong’s case, finding Digimon crests and CardCaptors tarot cards.

As Tricon continues to grow, Cheng hopes to take over more of the Conrad Centre and eventually “be the biggest con in southwest Ontario.” It’s a big goal, but if the support system around that is any indication, there is no doubt they will get there.


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