Toronto’s third annual vaping convention, nicknamed Vapecan, took place on July 24, 25 and 26. The successful event lured dozens of vendors and thousands of people to The International Centre for a three day celebration of all things vaping. The word of the day was “freebies.”
Walking into the event, patrons were handed free e-juice samples and a package of coupons for some of the vendors. Many juice companies opted to give out free samples without coupons – some could even be seen wandering around, handing out bottles. At one end, guests could wait in line to receive a free mini backpack from iBliss, strong enough to hold the many samples received at the end of the line.
Really – you had to work VERY hard not to walk away with freebies.
Many of the booths were professionally decorated and well staffed. Cold Turkey’s setup included brown leather couches. Kangertech brought in a full, hi-tech bottling machine protected in a large glass case. Nearly all the major e-juice booths had hardware for sampling their products.
In the centre of all the commotion was a stage, a DJ booth, and plenty of tables to relax. There were frequent giveaways from the stage, where throngs of people would crowd around with arms outstretched, trying to get as many bottles, t-shirts, and hardware as they could grab.
The best part? Vaping was allowed indoors at this event. The entire venue had a haze hanging overhead, though it did not seem to affect air quality.
Overall it was an excellent event attended by very friendly people, knowledgeable staff, and vaping enthusiasts. One booth even offered free starter kits if you surrendered your cigarettes – they boasted collecting over 40 packs by the end of the event.
Although I had a great time, I have a few minor complaints.
First of all, the event felt like it was catered more toward drippers than newbies. Most of the free samples were low nicotine (lower than I currently vape) and max VG (I personally prefer higher PG). Many of the juices available for purchase were also higher VG than I would normally enjoy. Even most of the hardware was geared toward dripping.
For instance, I was really disappointed by the Evaperated booth. They had bottles of juice for people to sample on their drippers but no way for a non-dripper to try it out. They have higher PG juice available on their website, but the only type sold at Vapecan was max VG. While I understand they can’t please everyone, I got the impression they weren’t really trying. The word ‘elitist’ popped into my head more than once, though I’ll allow that maybe it was a simple oversight.
Wandering around between booths, I found it very difficult to have any sort of meaningful conversation because the music was too loud between giveaways. My throat soon got scratchy from having to yell and I was not able to do the kind of networking I would have liked. I understand that during giveaways and the ensuing pandemonium at the stage, things will be loud. It’s a reality. But they really could have turned it down a notch when things were calmer.
And finally, my biggest complaint – someone who is there as a vendor, selling juice/hardware/merchandise, etc. should not be smoking cigarettes out front, in plain sight, wearing their company’s logo. Not only is it bad business for them, it gives any passersby and newbies a bad impression of vaping. It makes the whole community look bad. They should have gone around the corner of the building, away from the event, or put on a different shirt. I’m not anti-cigarettes – they can do what they please – but a vaping convention is not the time or place for that kind of thing.
Despite my few grievances, I really did have a wonderful time at Vapecan. I walked away with 740ml of e-juice, between the free samples and the few bottles I purchased. I really didn’t need to make any purchases but prices at most of the booths were less than half what you would pay at a store. How could I resist? I just feel sorry for stores in the city who will undoubtedly see a slump in their sales for the next month or two.