I have a confession to make.
This trip to Canada I took had an ulterior motive (and it wasn’t for me to kidnap and smuggle as many squirrels as I could back into Australia in a vague attempt to begin a formidable squirrel army that will eventually help me to conquer the world.)
I have to get this off my chest this before everyone gets the wrong idea and starts thinking I’m this fanciful creature who travels to places on a whim, following her adventurous spirit wherever it may lead her, who wakes up and decides, “I’ll go to Canada for a week!” in an adorably flighty manner, all while most likely rocking some sort of fringe and a variety of quirky outfits.
No, I am very much not that girl. I spent at least 90% of my life indoors on my computer and when people invite me to visit them at the bar across the street from my apartment I have to seriously consider whether or not it’s worth me putting on pants and going. An ‘on a whim’ trip is not exactly my “thing.”
Also, I’m not that rich.
Soo not that rich.
Anyway, so. Canada. The ulterior motive. It all traces back to this small, wee, mild obsession I have with Supernatural.
And in answer to your first two questions: yes, the television show, and yes, it is still on.
It’s funny because I can actually trace back to pinpoint the first time I ever watched Supernatural – namely due to my teenage devotion to keeping a diary of even the most mundane of activities. I had a quick look through and managed to locate my entry:
This picture proves that apparently the roots of this obsession trace back to 2006/07, that I’ve always written extremely long, pointlessly rambling stories and also that for some reason I wrote my diary like someone was ever going to read it.
Also, way to rock the comic sans unironically, Teen Shae.
Anyway, that diary entry aside, the true obsession probably actually only started about four years ago (which to be fair is still a fairly sizable chunk of time). The thing about this television show is that the fan-base for it is kind of extraordinarily huge and mind-blowing, to the extent where they hold a fair few conventions throughout the year, solely dedicated to the show itself. The actors fly in, host Q&A panels, take photos and sign autographs and fans pay exorbitant amounts to be there and take part. Fans like me. I’ve been to the two most recent ones in Australia, and it’s actually a pretty awesome experience.
So you’ve been to two already, I hear you say, you don’t really need to go to another right?
Ah, you sweet, innocent soul.
So, when they announced there was a convention in Vancouver, Canada, where the television show is actually filmed, I made the decision to follow my heart (read: obsession) and visit Canada and attend the convention. And then if anyone asked, I’d be like, “what? No I just rocked up to Canada and – OH WOW WHAT A SURPRISE THERE WAS A SUPERNATURAL CONVENTION ON. So I totally just went. Totally on a whim. Totally not even planned. Totally didn’t even buy tickets the minute they came on sale months ago. ISNT LIFE JUST A CRAZY SERIES OF COINCIDENCES??”
When I was actually at the convention, I started off, when people would ask where I’m from, muttering “…Australia” as if terrified someone would judge me for paying so much money and travelling so far for a convention. What I failed to realise is that I’m at a goddamn convention for Supernatural; these people understand obsession. People started responding that they’d travelled from far off places as well, from all over Europe, from Asian countries.
And coming from Australia transformed from something I mumbled behind my hand to something that was a sort of badge of honour where I’d literally shout it at people like, “OH YEAH, WELL I CAME FROM AUSTRALIA BUDDY, ALL THE WAY FROM AUSTRALIA, 24 HOUR FLIGHT MATE, YEAH BEAT THAT” and then when it came to other Australians (after feeling mildly irrationally annoyed that they’d also travelled from Australia because, HEY, that was MY thing how dare you copy ME) it’d be an even fiercer competition like, “OH YEAH WELL I CAME FROM PERTH, DIDJA COME THAT FAR, HUH, FROM WA, HUH, YOU STUPID MELBOURNITE, OH YEAH, FIGHT ME, COME ON BRING IT.”
I never said fan-girls were sane.
Anyway, so the convention started on the Friday and went for the next three days, but on that first day I had a little bit of time to kill before the day officially began so I decided I’d use that time for things non-Supernatural related, and so I said to myself, “hey why don’t I walk to Granville Island Public Markets then?” And Google Maps said, “hey, you can’t walk there, you have to take a ferry, did you not see the word island?” And I said, “WE’LL SEE ABOUT THAT” and embarked on a mission to prove Google Maps wrong.
Spoiler alert: I didn’t
The very fact that it was impossible to walk to the Granville Island Markets became increasingly apparent to me about halfway through my trek. I had looked at the map and seen a long, large bridge that seemed to span from main Vancouver and – to my incredibly untrained eye – looked like it went right over Granville Island so my logic was that surely I’d be able to somehow get from the bridge down to where I needed to be.
I use the word “logic” but I’m pretty sure what I mean is the exact opposite.
What became painfully obvious midway through walking across the bridge was that there were no exits on it. It was one long bridge, straight from one side to the other – one really, really long bridge. I quickly realized that there would be no way for me to get off and down to the Granville Island Markets. What I should have done at this point, was turn around and head back the way I came. What I actually did, was continue to walk across this massively long bridge, still telling myself that maybe – maybe – when I got to the other side there would be a way to double back around and still get to the markets.
Spoiler alert: there wasn’t.
Fifteen minutes of walking later, upon reaching the other side of the bridge and realizing that there was very definitely no way of reaching the markets I had to concede a very tired, very sweaty defeat. I was also paranoid someone might’ve seen me walk the whole way there for no reason so I pretended that I had crossed for a reason and pretended to inspect the tiny, generic park that was on the other side like, “oh yes, this is a nice park, oh yes indeed, so worth the trip, yes” for about five minutes before sheepishly ducking my head and crossing back over the bridge.
On my way back, I looked over the edge and resist the urge to give this the finger:
In conclusion: you win this round, Google.
Out of spite (stupidity), I disregarded Google Maps attempts to direct me back to where I needed to go and decided to make my own way. Apparently I don’t learn lessons well.
I probably added at least 15 minutes onto my trip back, and my route also took me into the more dodgier side of town, as evidenced by the sudden increase in smashed bottles, shifty-looking people, the occasionally screaming homeless and the types of stores around:
BUT, when I ducked into a 7-11 for water, I came across the most wondrous thing ever.
I’m like 90% sure all stores should have a guard cat. And also that because my route allowed me to discover said guard cat, I win this round against Google. Or sort of win. Give me 0.001 of a point at least.
Anyway. So the convention. I will say one thing off the bat: the people I met there were incredibly and overwhelmingly nice and friendly. There was an amazing sense of camaraderie and togetherness that really impressed me. I made friends, never had to spend a moment alone if I didn’t want to and in general felt very welcome and accepted.
It was an interesting mix of people – I wouldn’t be able to tell you if it was predominantly old or young people to be honest. There were older fans who had probably been following the show for a long time, and younger fans who’d maybe just started watching. And really young fans, who dressed in heels and pretty skirts and batted their eyelashes at the lead stars as if hoping that yes, YES, this married-with-kids-famous-actor absolutely IS going to see you, FALL INSTANTLY IN LOVE AND LEAVE EVERYTHING BEHIND TO BE WITH YOU.
I know better.
… NO INSTEAD WHAT’LL HAPPEN IS I’LL MAKE A FUNNY JOKE AND THEY’LL THINK I’M HILARIOUS AND BE MY BEST FRIEND AND WE’LL HANG OUT AND HAVE INSIDE JOKES AND DRINK TOGETHER AND –
I’m just kidding.
I mean, in any case, for my plan to work I’d have to actually be able to talk to the dudes, which is something I’m apparently incapable of doing. I had a photo-op with one of the stars of the show and my particular favourite, and spent the time in the line, slowly inching closer, with my eyes most likely extremely creepily staring at him, noticing that he was in a particularly chatty mood, conversing with most of the people at least sparingly, and in my head I was crowing, “yes, YES, I will talk, I WILL DAZZLE HIM WITH MY WIT, JUST YOU WATCH.”
And then it was my turn, I had a fleeting look up at his face, thought, NOPE, and centred my gaze somewhere at chest height in a pointed attempt to keep from hyperventilating.
“Nice shirt!” he said. “Aren’t you hot though? I’m sweating like crazy in this shirt!”
I replied with something along the lines of, “I – no – shirt – sweater – I – ok” and dissolved into vaguely hysterical giggles.
Good job, Shae.
Aside from the day-time panels, the photo-ops and autographs, and a merchandise area that I spent far too much money in, the convention also had a few nighttime events, including a karaoke night on the Friday and a concert on the Saturday night.
As was the running theme of the whole trip, I made friends with a girl in line for the karaoke night, who introduced herself as being from Ireland. I couldn’t have asked for a better karaoke companion, because a few minutes in, when the inevitable “Bohemian Rhapsody” played and we swayed in the crowd, she turned to me and said, “Have you ever seen Father Ted?”
To which I squealed, “YES!”
And then we both simultaneously shouted, “GRAHAM NORTON!” and proceeded to quote back and forth. For those who have no idea what I’m referring to, do yourself a favour and watch this:
And now you will never hear “Bohemian Rhapsody” the same way ever again. You’re welcome.
The concert on Saturday night was preluded by a pub crawl of sorts. I had read about the pub crawl on Facebook and was dithering in the hotel foyer, debating whether or not to attend, worried because I knew no one, worried because the pub they were going to was about 10 minutes away, worried because I didn’t know where the group was, wishing there would be a sign to tell me what to do –
A woman walked up to me and said: ‘hey, if you’re going to the pub crawl, follow me.’
As far as signs went, it was pretty straightforward.
At the concert itself, I nabbed myself a position in the “mosh pit” of sorts near to the side of the stage. The usher/organizer rattled off some rules to us in the mosh pit (the usual: don’t run on stage, don’t push and shove, don’t kidnap celebrities, I’m looking at you, you crazy Aussie chick, yeah I see you) and then gestured to the side and told us that the deaf patrons would be next to us with their translators. “So be aware of them,” she finished, and then added, “and if you’re anything like me you’ll probably end up watching the translators the whole time because it’s really cool.”
Right, I snorted to myself, I’ll stare at the translators rather than celebrities, right.
So, I stared at the translators rather than the celebrities.
Look, it was fascinating. They were getting into it – these translators were amazing, rocking out as they signed; one girl was a rockstar. People actually watching the real show kept jostling me and I’d shoot them a glare as if to say, “look, buddy, I’m trying to watch these sign language translators ok? Just calm your farm.”
It wasn’t until people started screaming “JENSEN ACKLES!” – one of the stars of the show who was making a rare appearance to sing – that I figured I should probably pay more attention.
You’ll notice the video cuts off at the end as he turns to face us. That was the point I got shoved to ground and trampled in a fan girl rampage. I’m kidding of course.
… Kind of.
Like I said, no one ever said fan-girls were sane.
*Wait. I think I missed a pun opportunity here?