Wednesday, May 26, 2010
The Victoria Steam Exposition
I've never been to Canada. I love hockey so that helps right? When offered the opportunity to go to Victoria British Columbia for the Victoria Steam Exposition I jumped at the chance. Not only was I going to get to meet Cherie Priest and see the very talented Unwoman perform but I was going to get to meet an entire new demographic of people.
The trip there was rough. I had three stops (yeah bad planning on my part.)and when I finally arrived at the Seattle airport I missed the 30 minute flight to Victoria because the airport posted the wrong gate on the ticker board. Soooo, I had to wait six more hours until the next flight.
So I finally arrive and get the fifty dollar cab ride to the hotel... Um I mean to the palace. I can't tell you how awesome this hotel was but I can show you. Not only did I get to stay here but the Exposition was actually held here as well. This is from Wikipedia: "The Empress (as it was known then) played hostess to kings, queens, movie stars and many famous people. In 1919, Edward, Prince of Wales waltzed into the dawn in its Crystal Ballroom - an event considered by Victorians to be of such importance that almost 50 years later, the obituaries of elderly ladies would appear under headlines such as, 'Mrs. Thornley-Hall Dies. Prince of Wales Singled Her Out.' In the 1930s, Shirley Temple arrived accompanied by her parents amid rumours that she had fled from California because of kidnapping threats.On May 30, 1939 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth attended a luncheon at the Empress, as guests of the Provincial Government."
The Expo itself was nothing short of wonderful. Lot's of steampunk goodness everywhere you looked. The entire con basically happened in one big area which was a nice change. Even the vendors were placed in a room where the panels were held so it was basically the epicenter of activity. Not to mention this was seriously the perfect location for a steampunk con. Probably the best you could get on this side of the world. I even got to hear a bit from Cherie Priest's new novel, Dreadnought.
The amazing thing was that I sold out of books. Something that's never happened to me before at a con. Part of it is that I'm limited to what I can bring or ship due to costs but still, that's a lot of books! So I ended up taking orders with free shipping for people that wanted signed and stamped copies. I also have to point out how great Victoria is as a city. This place is beautiful. Harbors and waterways around every corner, European styled buildings everywhere, and lots of pubs with shockingly good food. These places mean it when they say the serve local fresh food. Wow I had some good meals. I need to also say how nice Canadians are. I come from the South so I southern hospitality is the norm for me but these people, everyone, was as nice as can be. From the performer on the street to the locals at the pubs, everyone was super polite and accommodating in every way.
Just before I left I got to catch a tiny part of the Victoria Day celebration which is a big deal in Victoria. Go figure. Part of the festivities included a wonderful parade which I only got to watch for 10 minutes or so but it still seemed that I was missing something pretty special. Here's a shot of a little tank that was roaming the streets.
When the con was over I originally had plans to do a book signing at Barnes & Noble in Seattle but that got all messed up, after the travel plans were booked of course. I was in luck though. My friends Robby and Meagan were entertained me for the entire day. I took the clipper ship (highly recommended by the way) from Victoria to Seattle and met them. They took me around to the touristy spots (which was really nice to get a quick rundown of the city since I was only really there for about 14 hours total. We also went to Pike's Fish Market which I loved and envied in every way. Really Seattle, I know this is commonplace for you but I would seriously shop there every day if we had anything like this.
Next up I'll be blogging about The World Steam Expo held in Dearborn MI this last weekend.