Cartoonists from across Canada and the United States are gathering in Toronto for a weekend convention celebrating, obsessing, and worrying about the future of their craft. We’ve done this every two years in almost every major city in Canada, including my hosting in Hamilton. The last one in 2014 was our first foray outside the mainland when we touched down in Havana Cuba. While it’ll be tall order to top the palm trees and salsa dancing of Cuba, the charm and skills of Wes Tyrell, the event organizer, is sure to please all in attendance. Wes is depicted in the above drawing in the bottom right hand corner. He single handedly organized our Cuba visit, and now herds the people who’ll host cartoonists in the centre of the universe.
We cartoonists are a solitary breed, and while social media has kept many of us in close contact outside of these conferences, nothing quite matches the benefits and camaraderie that comes with these rare get-togethers. It’s impossible not to notice how our numbers have shrunk with every passing convention as colleagues lose their jobs, retire, or pass away. There will be those forecasting the death of the newspaper industry within the next 5 years, as has always been stated with every convention I’ve attended for the last 2 decades. Old faces will make appearances, new people will be introduced, the association will persevere, and after we wrap up we’ll all go home energized and optimistic about the work we do.
For a look at our schedule of events surf on by the website of the Association of Canadian Cartoonists.