The end of September doesn’t just mean saying goodbye to the warm weather, it also means that it’s time for The Grand Canadian Steampunk Exposition! If you love all things Steampunk, this is the place to be. There’s costumes, shopping, hot air balloon ride and music. The venue is also a lot of fun. The event takes place at an old military fort which results in some great pictures.
Compared to last year, this was less of an adventure. Last year we made a weekend adventure out of the Expo, which included costumes, hitting up the tourist spots in Niagara and crossing the border to go shopping. This time we just headed down to Niagara for the day and still somehow managed to have wacky adventures.
THE BOOK OUTLET: WHERE WALLETS GO TO DIE
The Book Outlet is one of the most magical places on earth. It is also a place that we probably never should have went too. Chelsey and I have placed a lot of orders through the Book Outlet in the last few years, but we never could have dreamed of them having a physical store… in Canada! When we realized that this wasn’t just a dream but a reality we decided to hit it up on our way to Steampunk.
Our total spent between us was just under $120 for 22 books. It was insane! you could easily spend a day inside the Book Outlet just adding to your cart, losing track of time… never leaving…
Outlet Shopping, But Not For What You Think
After the Book Outlet, we decided to hit up one of the outlet malls. We grabbed lunch at a McDonalds and planned the rest of our day. We had a lot of time to kill, so more shopping seemed like the best plan. There are a lot of Outlet Malls in the Niagara region and we had already hit up a few last year. This time around it seemed like a good idea to go to one that we had never been to before. After wandered the mall for a while but nothing really stood out to us. I jokingly suggested that we go into Hot Topic. Chelsey agreed. Then this happened.
The Strain has Pop Funko figures! We saw one sitting on a shelf and Chelsey made a comment that the figure looked very much like Eph from The Strain. Then we realized it was Eph. We bought the three figures that they had in stock. Chelsey got Eph and Setrakien and I bought the Master. Funko released four in total, the hunt for our favourite member of the vampire SWAT Team Vauhn has begun.
Here’s hoping that they release a second series with the rest of the characters that we know and love. How cute would a Fet, a Nora and even an Eichorst be?
Don’t Ever Listen to Me. I Have Bad Ideas A.K.A. The Walk of Doom
With three hours to kill before the start of the concert, taking a nature walk seemed like a great idea. Chelsey pulled over the car beside the Niagara escarpment and we found what appeared to be a path. We began to descend the path and realized too late that this wasn’t the best climb to be making in sandals. The further we went the more we realized that this was probably a bad plan. There was a spot where people like us who had miscalculated their leisurely walk had abandoned their starbucks and their ice caps. We added to the pile and continued forth, our commentary ringing through the trees helping hide our growing nervousness.
We made it to the bottom and what we found was amazing. I never thought that I would ever walk in the Niagara river. When I realized that this was a possibility I immediately took my boots off and ran into the water. There were a few other groups of people scattered along the river. Some reading, some fishing. It was beautiful.
When it was time to return to the car, we realized that there was an actual path with stairs headed back up to the top. I remember thinking to myself that this would be an easier way up. I was wrong. These stairs were just steep enough that climbing them was difficult. After what seemed like forever we finally made it back up to the top of the stairs. We sat in the car catching our breath for a while. Then it was off to dinner.
We walk into the tent and all of a sudden it’s like a year hasn’t passed and we never left the expo. The tent was slowly filling up with people getting ready for the concert. We found ourselves a nice spot to sit behind the VIP section that gave us an awesome view of the stage. Sadly, Abney Park had been the night before but we were still pumped to see Steam Powered Giraffe and Professor Elemental.
When Professor Elemental is on stage, he’s having the time of his life and because he’s having the time of his life so are you. I don’t think he ever stood still at all during his performance. He was bouncing around the stage, joking and dancing. He sang his I’m British song and promised if he were to return next year he would rework it to be about being Canadian, something that I really want to see. My favourite part of his set though was Don’t Feed the Trolls. The Prof asked the crowd to troll him. The majority of what people shouted at him was pretty harmless. Everything was all good and fun and he came down into the crowd. It was then when the most perfectly timed moment happened. Someone threw a balled up piece of paper at him. We couldn’t tell if it was a receipt or a gum wrapper, but everything stopped. You can’t find timing that good in movies. We’re pretty sure that the person hadn’t meant it maliciously but it caused the Professor to head back up onto the stage.
If you’ve never seen Steam Powered Giraffe live, you’re missing out. There is so much to their performance that their music videos just don’t capture. When we first saw them live last year I remember being hypnotized by their movement. Without the computer screen separating me from their performance you just can’t get over how real it is and how so much effort goes into their movement and use of sound. It’s amazing. What really ties their act together though is the chemistry between the three of them. They are such a well oiled machine (no pun intended) and know exactly how to work off of one another. After the show we went to the band meet and greet and took a picture with Steam Powered Giraffe, sadly due to a camera malfunction and poor lighting the photo didn’t turn out (this is the second year in a row that this has happened, but third times the charm right?).
We wandered out of the Fort and back to our car. Chelsey requested some loud music, we hit up a Tim Hortons and began the long drive home.
I find going to events like this really inspiring. You see people doing what they love and making it work. I know that there is probably a lot going on behind the scenes that the audience doesn’t see and will probably never know about, but that’s not the point. These people love what they do, and they’ve managed to find a way to reach out to others who love the same thing. Not only that but they’ve managed to make a living out of it. Seeing people doing what they love gives me hope that one day I’ll be able to do the same. Conventions and conferences always give me the boost to keep working towards my goals.
So here’s hoping that this motivation takes me somewhere.
If you have a chance to go to the Grand Canadian Steampunk Expo, you really should. It’s a great way to spend a weekend. I know we’ll be going back next year.