Page & Panel Holiday COVID-19 Shopping Update

SundayHey everyone,

We don’t usually post Page & Panel updates in this space, but this year we need all the help and exposure we can get.

We’re happy to say that Page & Panel will still be here for your holiday shopping needs. It’s going to be essential for all small businesses, especially retail like ours, that customers shop locally this year.

We will be open this week from Tuesday to Saturday for curbside pickup and online delivery. Ways you can order:

  • has more products than ever! And many new sections to help you browse those products
  • Didn’t see what you were looking for? Need suggestions? Give us a call at 416-323-9212 or email and we’ll work with you to pull together whatever may need. We’re happy to put together recommendations for any taste or age group.
  • Last but not least! We’ve added free shipping within Canada for orders over $100.

We’re going to be trying out a few different hours this week and next, but for now these are our hours:

Curbside Pick Up & Phone Order Hours:

Wednesday – Friday: 12pm – 6pm
Saturday – Sunday: 11am – 4pm

Keep your eyes on this space and @tcafshop on Instagram for the latest.

Staff of Page & Panel

TCAF 2021 Application Period Delayed

Hi everyone,

When we cancelled the festival in March 2020, we told creators and publishers that applications for our 2021 festival would open on August 1st, 2020. As conditions and public health advisories surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic continue to evolve, we can’t currently confirm festival dates for 2021. Therefore, we will not be able to open applications as scheduled. 

We’re hopeful that we will be able to announce festival dates soon, but we need more time to see how current health policies play out.

There will be a festival of some kind, but we don’t know what that looks like yet. We’ll provide an update in November 2020. 

Miles Baker
Executive Director

Building a Better TCAF

We’ve created a form to collect anonymous feedback for those of you who don’t feel comfortable sharing your concerns and suggestions publicly. The Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) Board is committed to reviewing your comments as part of our commitment to action and doing better.

Kindly note, all fields are optional and you are encouraged to share as much or as little as you are comfortable with.

A subcommittee of three Volunteer Directors, Coralie D’Souza, Kawai Shen, and Khristine Cuthbertson will review your feedback and bring recommendations for changes to the TCAF Board in September 2020. We commit to communicating those changes publicly on the TCAF Blog. All specific responses to this form and any personal contact information shared will be kept within the subcommittee. We invite you to share this form as well, the more information we’re able to collect the better informed our policies will be.

We are also currently reviewing our existing Conduct & Harassment Policy and will be creating an Anti-Racism Policy, along with clear and safe processes for bringing these issues forward, and for addressing these issues, going forward.

We whole-heartedly agree. #TCAFCanDoBetter

TCAF’s Commitment to Ending Anti-Black & Anti-Indigenous Racism

“Stay safe.”  We say it so often and without thinking. It’s even starting to lose its meaning. 

These words have a very different meaning to Black and Indigenous peoples, groups who are subject to greater precarity, particularly when intersecting with gender, class, and other forms of systemic discrimination.

In the wake of recent events, including the widespread outpourings of solidarity against anti-black racism in North America, and specifically in Canada, the killings of 8 indigenous persons by police since just this April — we are taking stock and acknowledge the systemic and institutional barriers we play a part in. 

Simply put, the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF)—whose leadership currently lacks Black or Indigenous representation —can do better. 

We exist to support creators of comic works in their broad and diverse voices in order to promote the medium of comics as a legitimate medium of literary and artistic worth. We believe we have a role to play in supporting diversity in our field and are making a commitment to do so, with intention. 

We will begin with a commitment to learning by ensuring our staff and volunteers and the board receive resources and materials to help facilitate their understanding of issues raised by BIPOC communities, with attention to intersectional identities, including but not limited to QTBIPOC identified individuals. We are also exploring new ways of applying an anti-racist lens in building our community, including our staff and volunteers, with the understanding that accounting for anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism must be at the forefront.

We do not see this as a one-time project, but a life-long one that will inform the organization we aspire to be going forward. We look forward to working with the larger comics industry, and community to do so and will provide updates as we develop our plans.   

— Christopher Butcher, Miles Baker + The TCAF Board (Coralie D’Souza, Gary Sherman, Kawai Shen, Khris Cuthbertson, Peter Birkemoe)

Regarding Conduct & Harassment in the Comics Industry

In light of the recent allegations made by women against various men in the comics industry, we at the Toronto Comics Arts Festival (TCAF) wish to make it unequivocally clear that all forms of harassment and predation, including subtler forms such as grooming, are not tolerated by the festival.

We recognize that TCAF plays an important role in the comics industry, that the festival is an active space for networking, and this tasks us with the responsibility of continually addressing and revisiting the challenges of maintaining a safe space for all attending and aspiring creators. 

We are currently reviewing our existing Conduct & Harassment Policy, with the aim of explicitly addressing events we host or co-host with our cultural and business partners off the main exhibition sites of the festival where TCAF staff are harder to identify. We will announce revisions before our next live event.

In addition, we will be reviewing our past and current processes for inviting and handling reports of harassment and will provide updates as necessary.

— Christopher Butcher, Miles Baker + The TCAF Board (Coralie D’Souza, Gary Sherman, Kawai Shen, Khris Cuthbertson, Peter Birkemoe)

Word Balloon Academy: Labour Organizing with Vanessa Kelly

As a part of the Word Balloon Academy program, TCAF presents an interview Vanessa Kelly from the Art Babbitt Appreciation Society (ABAS), a Vancouver-based labour organizing group that has exhibited at the comic arts festival, VanCAF. Please note this interview has been edited for length and clarity.
You can learn more about ABAS at their official website and from this article by Our Times which goes into more detail about specific working conditions for animators and their relations with employers.
The groups mentioned by Vanessa include IATSE, the Animation Guild, and ACTRA. Listeners may also be interested in GWU, an organizing group in the gaming industry who you might have seen at the Hand Eye Society Ball, an event hosted by TCAF’s partner, Hand Eye Society.
One of the challenges in talking about labour organizing is that workers can take on the significant risk of retaliation from employers. Because of this, organizers are often not at liberty to disclose certain details about campaigning, especially ongoing campaigns. This makes knowledge more difficult to share. While there are online resources that document and analyze past campaigns, learning about organizing is greatly benefited from contacting groups experienced in labour rights like ABAS.

Vanessa and other organizers contacted regarding this program also noted that labour organizing can improve working conditions outside of a collective agreement between unionized workers and their employer. In addition to ABAS’ campaign to have employers recognize overtime pay of non-unionized animation workers, workers can achieve other goals such as pooling funds to purchase healthcare or creating a public payment schedule like the one organized by CARFAC. These types of goals are especially beneficial to freelance workers who usually do not have a central employer, or even a small group of central employers, to organize around.

If you found this podcast helpful or would be interested in similar content in the future, please let us know. We are always trying to improve the Word Balloon Academy to support the professional needs of artists. We’d also sincerely appreciate it if you could support our emergency fundraiser for Page & Panel. Thank you!

The Toronto Comic Arts Festival is looking for a Volunteer Coordinator!

The Toronto Comic Arts Festival is looking for an enthusiastic individual to help recruit and coordinate a team of approximately 250+ volunteers. The Festival attracts 25,000 attendees per year across multiple downtown Toronto venues in early May. The Assistant Volunteer Coordinator will work with the Volunteer Coordinators to help provide support for some of the best volunteers in the industry! (It’s true! We get compliments on our volunteers all the time!). 

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