Indigenous Land Acknowledgement
The Toronto Comic Arts Festival would like to acknowledge that the land on which we gather is the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, the Haudenosaunee, and the Huron-Wendat and that Indigenous peoples have lived on and cared for this land for more than 15,000 years. This territory is covered by the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Treaty. Today, Toronto is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island. We acknowledge that settlers on the land directly benefit from the process of colonization.
In recognition of our gathering on these lands for TCAF 2020, the festival will make a donation to The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund (DWF). We look forward to increasing our support and programs for Indigenous creators in the years to come.
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Tom Spurgeon/ Comics Reporter
TCAF is the jewel of North American shows, so if you want to do a show, that's the one I would do first. ... a significant show on the world stage, and aspirational in many ways to all of us that are working on shows of our own, collectively and individually.
The Beat/Devastator 2015 Indie Exhibitors Survey/ The Beat / The Devastator
The #1 Convention for Indie Comics Exhibitors in North America. In terms of overall sales and exhibitor satisfaction, TCAF still ranks as the best indie fest covered by this survey thus far. [Exhibitors] gushed: “TCAF is well organized, thoughtfully curated, and brings in an excited crowd ready to try new things.”
History & Staff
The Abridged History of The Toronto Comic Arts Festival, and the people who make it happen
The Toronto Comic Arts Festival exists to promote the breadth and diversity of comics, and what is considered comics, as legitimate medium of literary and artistic worth. We seek to promote the creators of these works in their broad and diverse voices, for the betterment of the medium of comics and to reach as wide an audience as possible for them.
The first Toronto Comic Arts Festival (“TCAF”) was held on the weekend of March 29th 2003. It was the natural progression of years of disparate book signings, author appearances and miscellaneous events put together by a group of volunteers interested in promoting the literary and artistic merits of comic books and graphic novels. Approximately 600 members of the public attended the first festival, with 25 staff and approximately 70 creators in attendance.
Attendance and excitement grew during subsequent events, held every two years. TCAF 2005 was held the weekend of May 28-29, and saw approximately 6,000 attendees visit the large tents set up on the grounds of Honest Ed’s department store. TCAF 2007 moved back indoors to the Victoria College building on the University of Toronto, and it also featured about 6,000 attendees over the August 18-19 weekend. TCAF 2009 was held in conjunction with Toronto Public Library in their massive flagship location, Toronto Reference Library. 10,500 people visited the festival on the weekend of May 9th and 10th, engaging over 300 exhibitors consisting of authors, artists, publishers, from 6 different countries including France, Germany, Japan, and England. Since 2010 TCAF has been held at Toronto Reference Library, with attendances increasing annually – we welcomed 12,500 attendees in 2010, 15,000 in 2011, and 18,000 in 2012 & 2013, 22,000 in 2014, 24,000 in 2015, and 25,000+ in 2016 and beyond, across all Festival events.
While a Festival the scope and size of TCAF was a natural progression of locally organized events, often in coordination with Toronto comic emporium The Beguiling, it also grew from equal parts agitation and inspiration caused by other large-scale events dealing with the comic book medium. While most of shows of this nature are pop-culture events and tend to be insular in nature, we wanted to do something that dealt more specifically with the art form of comics itself, with an emphasis on genre appreciation and open interaction between creators and their community.