Right before the US Thanksgiving holiday last week, I was given the wonderful opportunity to travel to Canada for the second time this year and attend the AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGO) convention: Brickfête Montréal 2013. Thanks to a great deal of hard work and effort by the Brickfête team, the event was brought over to Montréal, Québec for the very first time. I was thrilled by this decision and couldn’t be happier for the continued growth I’ve witnessed from the fan community in Canada.
I was honored to be able to visit this first year event, and had a great time interacting with both AFOLs that have never been able to attend aconvention as well as those I’ve met several times before. This was my first time in Québec and I am happy to report that my complete incomprehension of the French language didn’t inhibit my trip by any means. That being said, the extremely cold temperatures did made a mockery of my light jacket and lack of additional proper winter wear.
I arrived in the area Thursday evening and made my way to the hotel to check in and drop off my luggage. I ran into a contact from LUCNY who was able to give me some quick instructions on how to make my way to the event venue. Following my guide, I popped in to say hello to the event organizers and get my proper credentials. A lot of MOCs (My Own Creation) had already been set-up and there was a mural building activity taking place. After a quick round, I headed back to the hotel for a quick dinner and to rest up for the next day.
Friday the event was only open to registered AFOL attendees and there were several activities throughout the day including parts drafts, trivia, and a race to sort a bag of random LEGO elements the quickest. The morning hosted the opening ceremonies in which I addressed the attendees with my 2013 AFOL convention presentation where I explain who I am, where I came from within the LEGO Company, my department, and all the ways in which we support the AFOL community. I was very fortunate to have the help of Patrick from QuéLUG there to translate into French for those who needed it, thanks again Patrick!
In the evening I made a point to wander the space and document the absolutely wonderful builds and creations I saw at the event. One of my favorites was a reimagined 10223 Horizon Express as a monorail train; I couldn’t resist snapping a picture with my phone and sending it over to the LEGO set designer, Jamie. Knowing his history with the AFOL community I knew he would love it. I am also proud to say that I have finally sampled the local dish Poutine, while grabbing lunch. This collection of French fries, cheese and brown gravy has eluded me for the past two years while traveling in Toronto, but I have now corrected this oversight. It was… awesome. ;P
Saturday the event was opened to public visitors and they quickly filled up the space as the day progressed. It was great to see all the families enjoy the event. There were plenty of great things to look at and a nice play area for them to build and display their creations. In between snapping pictures and engaging with the fans I ducted out for lunch with a few members of QuéLUG, the local fan group in the area. We had a great meal and discussed varying questions and issues such as the LEGO LUGBULK Program, the LEGO Inside Tour, and the LEGO Fan Weekend event in Denmark. As the evening winded down and we were regaled by another entertaining LEGO charity auction hosted by Chris from rtlToronto. He definitely has a knack for bringing out people’s laughs and wallets.
Sunday I woke to even greater frigid temperatures, I spent several minutes trying to open my car door which had frozen shut over night. It was definitely a sign for me to head back home. A huge well done to the Brickfête team once again for bringing this event to a new area, and thank you for the warm welcome I received. This event is my last trip scheduled for 2013. So for inquiring minds, I’ve taken 14 business trips this year: 12 within North America, and 2 overseas to Denmark. I now have several weeks planned for processing a lot of to-do items and 2014 support planning…
My full set of photos can be found in my Flickr photostream HERE