CAPE unmasks Cornwall’s inner superhero

By Adam Brazeau 
CORNWALL, Ontario – The Benson Centre was the not-so-secret headquarters for thousands of comic book and pop culture fans on Saturday.

On two NHL-sized ice pads, the city’s own version of Comicon transformed a nesting ground for jocks into a geek’s paradise on Saturday, April 18.

CAPE (Cornwall & Area Pop Event) organizers Carol Grant and Randy Sauve told Seaway News that roughly 4,000 people attended.

“The highlight of all this is just knowing that we did it,” said Grant. “We’ve only heard positive things about the event.”

It took nearly $50,000 to get CAPE off the ground, with the majority of the money covering the cost of celebrity talent.

Some of the major guests included AMC’s Comic Book Men Ming Chen and Mike Zapcic, Degrassi’s Pat Mastroianni (Joey Jeremiah), voice actor John Stocker, and The Walking Dead’s Amber Dawn Fox.

Admission was $18 at the door ($15 in advance).

“There might be a slight price increase next year, but we’ll have even bigger names and some fan favourites may return,” said Grant.

CAPE featured an impressive mix of exhibitors, cosplayers, and local talent, including artist Frank Burelle, voice actor Jamie Carr, first-time author Angie Dilaj, and painter Erynn Blackadder Doherty.

Organizers credited the efforts of CAPE’s 50-plus group of volunteers for keeping the event running smoothly.

“I wanted an event like this in Cornwall for everyone to feel that Comicon electricity right in their own backyard,” said Sauve.

CAPE’s social media campaign kicked off at the beginning of the year, and continued with daily updates until the convention took over the Benson Centre.

Sauve and Grant were shocked to see the massive line stretched out into the parking lot before the doors opened at 10 a.m. The overwhelming response has already been factored into CAPE 2016.

“The plan is to have it the last week of April and I expect it to be two days,” he said.

During the interview, the voice of a pet detective bellowed throughout the crowd. The hysterical loudmouth in question: Montreal’s Ace Ventura Simon Fontaine.

“When we launched CAPE, he was one of the first we contacted,” said Grant.

A near spitting image of funnyman Jim Carrey, Fontaine rocked Ventura’s iconic hair wave, Hawaiian shirt, and pin-striped pants. As he visited booths and took selfies with convention-goers, the movie character’s signature over-the-top body movements kept the crowd laughing.

“For a first-time event, this is amazing,” said Fontaine.

For the past three years, he has honed his craft at major cosplay conventions. It all started after his Ventura impression turned heads at a costume party.

“If you do this for money, you’re in the wrong business,” said Fountaine. “Cosplay for me is dedication.”

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