Monday, August 27, 2012

FANeXpo 2012: the doctor who society of canada

Over the years at FANeXpo, official fan societies have increasingly demonstrated a strong presence there. So much so that they now have designated spots for fans to learn and maybe even get involved with the execution of various events with the convention.

First it was 501st Legion, a Star Wars fan group based on players representing the Empire that now has one of the most prominent presences at the convention.

Then there is the Ontario Ghostbusters.

And of course, Steampunk, the alternative lifestyle based on steam-powered technology in the 18th and 19th centuries.

And now, so it seems, there is now a Society for Doctor Who (henceforth known as the DWSC)

The story that tells of how this society was created is actually quite interesting.

Apparently (and as I was told by one of the supervisors at their table/booth at the convention) last year at FANeXpo, a group of Doctor Who enthusiasts were attempting to round up individuals dressed in Doctor Who costumes for a fan photoshoot of costumes, walking around the floor and informing every and all who were in Who-themed costumes about the gathering.

When the time came for the photoshoot, this group of people that began the search were staggered by the number of fans that had shown up. They had never before realized or imagined the sheer number of fans for Doctor Who in Toronto.

And these were just the people who had chosen to cosplay Doctor Who, nevermind those that were there but not in costume.

Even the media took notice of the turnout, with CTV News interviewing them as part of their coverage of the genre fan convention in Toronto.

Afterward, the group of now friends realized that this shared interest in all things Who was large enough and popular enough to support a club of sorts in Toronto. They met so many people who loved the show and wished for an opportunity to gather and meet others who feel the same way at continuous events both large and small in which to share in their interest.

And so it began...

The Doctor Who Society of Canada (DWSC) is a not-for-profit organization that is run by unpaid volunteers. It advertises itself as strictly a social group of fans from coast to coast, building friendships through social interaction, intelligent exchange and commonality.

As all things seemed to today, it began on a Facebook page as a means to post social gatherings and ideas. It has now expanded to organize a monthly social gathering for its members and those interested that is either a cosplay, screening or pub night as a reason to get together.

The "flagship" chapter is based out of Toronto, but they have other chapters in Ottawa, Kitchener/Waterloo and Halifax, with plans to eventually head westward, following genre conventions there to build a greater following and support.

The group incorporates a variety of  individuals with different skill sets in which they express through their love of Who.

Of course, there are the cosplayers, fans who as a means of expressing their fandom create costumes and dress up based on their favorite Doctor or Companion or even race from the Who series both old and new.

But then there are the artisans, particularly those with metalwork and electronic skills who then use these skills to build and create such things as robotic Daleks.

There were two of those running around FANeXpo, taking part in an event they called "Dalek Exterminations" - which shares a similar concept to the 501st Legion's "Find that Drone" activity.

The Who versions though involved fans who have the chance to track down and avoid being "exterminated" by the Daleks and of course, take a picture with these creatures.

 To officially become a member of the DWSC requires an interest in Doctor Who and a willingness to show up and take part in their social gatherings.

Because the DWSC is not-for-profit, there is also a yearly membership fee, but at a reasonably low price as a reflection of the fact that it is first a foremost a social group. For those aged 13-18, the cost is $10 per year, while adults pay $20 CDN dollars yearly to get involved.

Upon becoming a full member, they then get a: Membership Card, 4 issues of the DWSC newsletter, advance and front of line notice for DWSC events, Discouts on ticketed DWSC events and finally, access to an annual "Members Only" event.

 It calls itself a fledgling group, but by the looks of the weekend, it certainly has the wheels to become one of the more prominent and impactful fan societies in Canada.

Interested? Check them out on their Official Website, Facebook page or via Twitter. Allons-y!

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