Comic Con Niagara Falls Trip:
In early 2017, my friend Mark informed me that John Schneider would be at Comic Con at Niagara Falls among other celebrities. I’ve been to Comic Con in Toronto in the past and enjoyed it.
Mark and I originally planed to spend the night there, but I eventually made it a day trip even though Mark would be going the night before with his parents.
My plan was to ride VIA train #97 to Niagara Falls where I would visit Comic Con for the day. I would get a ride back with Mark’s parents. The trip unfolded as follows.
June 3, 2017:
I got to Union station around 7:45 am. I saw the Canadian was due in at 3:30 pm; 6.5 hours late! I looked around for places to get something to drink, but they weren't open yet. I joined the queue line for VIA train #97. Boarding began at 8:05 am. I was seated in Amfleet 1 coach #82929. I noticed the train was back to its regular configuration of a locomotive, three Amfleet 2 coaches, one Amfleet 1 coach, and an Amfleet 1 cafe car with Business Class seats at one end.
The train was pretty full leaving Toronto and I got a seatmate right away. This has got to be one of the times the train was pretty much full leaving Toronto. The train left one minute early, but no one complained!
My ticket was soon taken and the cafe car opened. The equipment that would be the combined VIA trains #62 and #52 passed and I filmed them. I noticed that one of the LRC coaches was one of many wrapped for Canada's 150th birthday later this year.
As we passed VIA's Toronto Maintenance Center, I filmed the equipment in the yard including three P42s and some LRC coaches wrapped for Canada's 150th. I saw an F40PH-2 and Glenfraser which were also wrapped. However, the wrapped F40 was partially blocked by F40PH-2 #6457 which wasn't wrapped.
I went to the cafe car for a snack. I returned to my seat. We passed by a track crew doing work on the track next to the train. An eastbound GO train passed.
We stopped at Oakville a few minutes later. We were soon underway again.
The train stopped in Aldershot a few minutes later. There was a GO train preparing to head east from Aldershot. The GO train departed at the same time as we did.
We passed through downtown Hamilton. Just like my previous trip, the CN switcher I had seen in Hamilton the last two trips was obstructed by freight cars so I couldn't take a clear photo of it. We began picking up speed as we left the Hamilton area.
The train passed through Grimsby non stop. We stopped in St. Catherines about 10 minutes later. At St. Catherines, I saw someone had painted the Royal Hudson on a garbage can! We soon departed.
A VIA employee came by collecting trash prior to our arrival at Niagara Falls. The bridge over the Welland Canal was down. A kid in the coach was whining. Thankfully they stopped a couple minutes later. We were soon approaching Niagara Falls. I readied my stuff in preparation to get off.
Train #97 arrived about four minutes late. We had made a double stop to change engineers. I got off and photographed the train.
I then photographed a GO Transit “Super Low” double decker bus.
I then met up with my aunt. She drove me to where Comic Con was being held. After saying goodbye to her, I joined the line to get inside. Before I went inside, I photographed a WEGO articulated bus.
I had bought my ticket online and was directed to a long line that went around to the back of the building. Fortunately it was moving fast and I soon got to the front doors. I did have a problem when I attempted to print the ticket the previous night. I was unable to print the ticket. Fortunately, I did write down the confirmation number and I was quickly able to get it straightened out and I went inside.
As with previous Comic Con events I've attended, people were dressed up as characters. However, I didn't dress up though. Once inside, I phoned Mark. He was in line to meet Charles Martinet who voiced Mario in the video games. I photographed some people dressed up as the latest incarnation of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with a Squirtle from Pokemon.
I then photographed the car from the show “The Munsters” and the General Lee which were on display.
I then went inside the main exhibit hall and photographed a truck that was painted to look like Optimus Prime from Transformers.
I then photographed the actress who played Genie in the old TV show “I Dream of Genie” and Charles Martinet.
I then met up with Mark who had been there pretty much when Comic Con had opened for the day. He had to wait in line and had gotten in around the time train #97 arrived into Niagara Falls.
I then photographed a few more exhibits at Comic Con.
I then joined a line to get John Schneider’s autograph; even though I’ve gotten it twice already. I took some pictures.
I looked around for a few more minutes.
Soon, John Schneider would be posing for photos by the General Lee. I had to buy a pass in order to pose with him and the General Lee, but I was able to. Mark had already done it. I took some photos as well.
I then stopped for lunch. After lunch, I took pictures of various costumes.
I then went to the second level of the convention center. I photographed the main display from a window overlooking the main floor.
I was hoping to see one presentation on the second floor, but I couldn’t find it. I eventually went downstairs and found Mark. I went by the Bat Copter which was from the 1960s Batman series staring Adam West (who recently passed away) and photographed the helicopter.
The helicopter reminded me of the helicopter I flew in when I attended Streamliners at Spencer back in 2014. I then photographed many Star Wars characters.
I then photographed a few more exhibits.
Mark and I lined up for a Q&A session with John Schneider. He talked a bit about his work filming The Dukes of Hazzard and other shows he’s been in since.
He also mentioned the last time he was in Niagara Falls which was during winter when I saw him and his Dukes of Hazzard Co-star Tom Wopat at Fallsview Casino back in 2011. He also allowed certain people to ask questions. I was able to ask him something pertaining to the Dukes of Hazzard.
After I went out and Mark got to pose with a person who closely resembles the animated character Peter Griffin from Family Guy. I photographed the “Real Life Peter Griffin”.
The Real Life Peter Griffin also did a good voice impersonation of the animated character as well.
After, I photographed some more exhibits as well as three people who were dressed as Tina, Gene, and Louise from the show “Bob’s Burgers”.
Mark and I then stopped by a Doctor Who exhibit. While I’m not a big Doctor Who fan, I found it interesting as there were several Daleks (robots who are the main antagonist in the show) that interacted with people. They would sometimes say “EXTERMINATE” and blast people with air. I took some photos of people dressed as the Ninja Turtles interacting with the Daleks and other parts of the exhibit.
I also had a conversation with a Dalek and while I kinda annoyed it, I was not “exterminated”! Still, it was pretty entertaining. It’s too bad our friend Jason couldn’t have been there too as he’s a big Doctor Who fan and has often dressed up as Doctor Who in the past.
I then photographed a few more exhibits.
Mark and I decided we’d seen all there was to see. I did buy a water bottle though.
Mark called his parents who came a few minutes later. Mark commented that if we were taking the train, we would have had to leave either now or a few minutes sooner in order to head down to the train station.
Just before Mark’s parents came, I photographed a WEGO bus as it passed.
Mark’s parents soon arrived and we headed back. I went over to Mark’s house for awhile before I had dinner at a nearby Harvey’s and eventually headed home.
This was a fun day. Comic Con is usually enjoyable as I’ve been there several times in the past in Toronto. The Daleks and John Schneider also made things interesting at this Expo.
My next trip will be at the end of the month to mark Canada’s 150th birthday. The trip after also will involve John Schneider as well. Until next time…