Well, 2019 is officially behind us, and despite it being a terrible year for me personally, it was a fantastic year for the Toronto/Eastern Canadian Old School communities. I figured I’d take this opportunity to be nostalgic on the past twelve months, since, you know, we are all about nostalgia.
In January, we were still sort of getting into the swing of things around these parts. A dedicated trading night was a huge success, there was some Alpha 40 played, and of course my snafu over Windseeker Centaur. The most exciting thing to happen though was receiving the VIP for Life card from Anson Maddocks. This allowed me to get a bunch of prints to raffle off at the first ever Winter Blast, which was starting to come together behind the scenes.
By the time February rolled in, I was starting to panic about the upcoming tournament. I’d never hosted anything like it, and imposter syndrome had set in pretty hard, but we crossed the pre-registration threshold that meant we weren’t losing money on it, so that alleviated some of the fear. Then the registrations kept coming in, and before we knew it, we were up to around 40 entrants! I had also started communicating more with our neighboring groups, particularly The Tundra Wolves, and we made plans to attend their TW2 tournament. This marked the first time that this group of Toronto players traveled for an event, and would not be the last, even for the year. A great time was had by all, and then just a few weeks later, many of those Wolves made their way to Toronto in reciprocity to attend our first major event. *editor’s note, excluding our first tournament as it wasn’t publicized*
Spring was a very shaky time for the Toronto players. We lost our home bar in April, causing us to splinter a bit, and I honestly don’t thing we’ve fully recovered from that. Despite finding a new bar to play in that has a lot of nice features, our numbers have never been like they were since our days at Bar With No Name.
Summer brought around round two of hosting large tournaments, this time in the form of The Fire Ball. We decided to go heavy on the Ball aspect of this one as a way to differentiate it from our winter event, and I agree that it made for much more interesting vibe. Attendance was higher, we needed a larger space to house us all, rounds ran smoother, and overall it was a great event. I also made it out to GenCon for a day, and ran into one other Toronto Old Schooler there, marking the second event I’d travel for.
Autumn meant Eternal Weekend, in which we loaded up a van and road tripped to the US to play so much Magic! By this time, we’d pretty well established a core “will travel for old school” group, meaning that planning is much easier and it’s generally accepted that if one person says “hey I want to go to this event” then there’s three or more ready to carpool and share a place. Related to The Gathering aspect of the game, we had the honor of spoiling a card for Scryings, which felt awesome.
Throughout all of this, we’ve held fairly regular Monday Meetups every other Monday night. Attendance at these varies from five to twelve mages, which are fairly respectable numbers, but knowing how many players there are in the Greater Toronto Area, I can’t help but think about why we aren’t experience the same levels of attendance as we were in 2018. Despite that, the core of the Toronto scene has become pretty well established, and it means that tournament planning is much more decentralized that it was a year ago.
Finally, the most important thing that was accomplished in 2019 is the raising of $
2480 $3480 (math is hard) for local charities from the generosity of local players and shops. Looking forward to crushing those numbers in 2020!