Ontario has established itself as Canada’s game studio hub. Toronto is home to more game studios than most cities in the world. These range from small independent developers producing indie games to studios that work on games for the major developers and even some of the big names in video games.
It’s not just the tech sector that has rallied around gaming. Many of Ontario’s universities and colleges now offer dedicated game development and programming degrees and courses. The University of Waterloo even offers an esports scholarship for students planning to pursue a career in the industry.
All of this means that Ontario is a perfect location for gaming events and conventions. Not only are the province’s major cities easily accessible to visitors from major cities in the United States, but they also have the infrastructure required to host large events.
In this article, we’ll give you an overview of the biggest gaming events and conventions that will be happening in Ontario in the coming year.
Ontario is home to some of Canada’s best-known casinos and poker rooms. Four of Canada’s best poker players – Howard Goldfarb, Tuan Lam, Daniel Dvoress, and Daniel Negreanu – all of whom have won the World Series of Poker bracelets, are from Ontario. The province certainly has a special relationship with this classic card game.
Our lives are increasingly entwined in a digital environment, so it’s no surprise that many of the top poker tournaments now happen online too. Even the World Series of Poker (WSOP) holds 85 of their bracelet events online.
Online casinos have certainly expanded from their early days and now rival the real thing – or surpass it, if you don’t live near a major gambling city! Each casino has a collection of games available online, ranging from slots and roulette to poker, blackjack, and baccarat. Players can participate in single online poker games or choose to play in a poker tournament if their casino of choice has the option.
GGPoker Ontario is affiliated with the World Series of Poker and offers players in the province a weekly high roller tournament called the $525 Sunday High Roller Superstack. Ontario players also have access to WSOP at GGPoker’s $25 Daily Deepstacks.
This daily tournament is a great way for players with a bit of experience to get a taste of what a serious competitive tournament environment is like.
If going out to the casino is more your style, there are unfortunately no live poker tournaments taking place in Ontario anytime soon.
However, one of the main reasons that people still go to land-based casinos isn’t for the gaming – it’s for the entertainment. Ontario casinos definitely don’t disappoint in that regard!
In the next few months, Ontario casinos will play host to some big names in the entertainment world. This includes Patti LaBelle (August 27, Fallsview Casino), Air Supply (September 16, Casino Rama), hometown star Paul Anka (November 3, Fallsview Casino), Ludacris (November 11, Casino Rama) and Machine Gun Kelly (September 3, Fallsview Casino).
Niagara Video Game Swap
It can be hard to say goodbye to our old games. Even when you’ve upgraded your system and can’t even play the physical copy of it anymore, it feels like you’re betraying an old friend. Then, considering how little most games are valued when traded in, it hardly feels worth it.
A video game swap is a perfect solution. The Niagara Video Game Swap is open to individuals who just want to swap a few games and vendors who are able to make that happen – and sell you some potential new favorites at the same time. This is a relatively small event but that also means that all of the good stuff won’t be gone before noon.
Creating Video Games with Scratch Coding for Kids
This coding class for children aged 9-12 is offered on a regular basis by the Lillian H. Smith Library. It teaches kids the basics of how to build a video game using Scratch. Scratch is a block-based system for learning to code. This is a great way for kids with an interest in video games to get a peek at the work that goes into making them.
Since it was launched in 2017, Game X has become one of Canada’s most popular gaming conventions. Last year’s convention was a huge success, featured over 100 vendors and over 200 cosplayers, and attracted at least 2,500 attendees. This year’s event is shaping up to be even better.
There are three main sections of Game X. The first is the Trade Show, where vendors will be based. Besides video games and gaming memorabilia, they will also offer comic books, trading cards, and other associated merchandise. The second area is the Gaming Tournaments. These will feature single-match tournaments in Super Mario Bros. Melee and Mario Kart 64.
The third sector is the most exciting – the Free Play Zone. The Free Play Zone is the video game enthusiast’s dream. There will be over 50 stations, with consoles ranging from the early Atari system to the PlayStation 5. There will be hundreds of games available to try – the hard part will be deciding what to play first!
Fan Expo Canada
Fan Expo Canada is a fan convention that caters to lovers of all things related to sci-fi, anime, horror, comics, and of course, video games. While it’s not solely dedicated to video gaming, it is a great place to celebrate well-loved games with like-minded fans and it does feature a lot of gaming-related content.
One of the biggest draws is the voice actor meet and greets. The voices of gaming characters are often as iconic as the characters themselves – just look at the uproar when Chris Pratt was cast as the voice of Mario in a recent movie. This year’s guests include Kellen Goff, Nadji Jeter, and the legendary Fred Tatasciore. There will also be voice actors from some of the hottest anime and cartoons.
This year’s Fan Expo will also be hosting the finals for the Bell Esports Challenge. This tournament is for amateurs and is presented to help identify the next generation of professional esports players. Teams have the option to compete in Valorant 5v5, Call of Duty 4v4, or Rocket League 3v3. Even if you’re not interested in competing, watching great gamers play is always exciting.
There will also be gaming panels – while the schedule has not yet been finalized, you can be sure that the panels will include debates and discussions, as well as ‘how-to’ sessions. In addition, there will be dedicated gaming cosplay meetups. You can find your posse at the Red Dead Redemption meetup or have a dance battle with the Fortnite crew.
If you’re interested in merch, there will be both an artists’ alley and a retailers’ hall. Previous Fan Expos have featured over 1,000 exhibitors, so no matter what you’re interested in, you’ll find something you like.