VCON CONVENTION FLOOR MAPS & TOURS OF FUNCTION SPACE
ALL ABOUT OUR NEAT & NIFTY HOTEL
By R. Graeme Cameron (Chair — VCON 41)
This is what I am particularly thrilled about. We have a total function space of about 19,790 square feet at a very reasonable price. No other hotel we checked out even comes close. Heck of a deal. There are two maps below, representing the Ground Floor and the Second Floor, each followed by a “tour” of the convention facilities on that floor. Be sure to read both tours to grasp what VCON will offer you!
GUILDFORD BALLROOMS AND FOYER(1)
A = Art Show (open to public)
B & C = Vendors (open to public)
D = Registration, Artists Gallery, and Cyber-space tables.
FRASER ROOM (2) = Tabletop & Board Gaming
BARNSTON ROOMS (3)
A = Operations/Volunteers
B = Console Gaming
FRESH RESTAURANT/LOUNGE/BAR (4)
BUSINESS CENTRE (5)
SMALL BOARD ROOM (not numbered)
DIRECTLY BELOW BARNSTON ROOM
is a board room for the Writers Workshops and Pitch Sessions
TOUR OF GROUND FLOOR CONVENTION SPACE
Entering the lobby (lower left on map), you have the hotel desk to your right, the restaurant in front of you, and a flight of stairs on your left leading up to the second floor, where almost all of our programming is located. (Wonderfully compact site.) The rest of the programming — Writing Workshops, Pitch Sessions, and Gaming (both Tabletop and Console), not to mention the Operations/Volunteers HQ — can be found by following the corridor to your right located between the front desk and the restaurant. More on them later.
As you stand in the lobby, between the flight of stairs to your left and the actual glass façade of the building, is the entrance to the foyer of the Guildford Ballrooms. Just before the entrance foyer you will find an information desk staffed by volunteers who can give you directions and answer any questions you may have about the convention.
Step through the foyer entrance and on your right you will find the “Swag Table” where VCON will sell merchandise (T-shirts, mugs, etc.) associated with the convention, and beyond the merchandise table are the entrances to the three Guildford Ballrooms. On your left will be the convention registration tables, and beyond registration the tables of the Artists Alley where artists will offer their art for sale, as well as the Cyber Space tables promoting doings on the web.
At registration you will be able to purchase your membership (day or weekend pass) if you are walking in “off the street”. Then you will also be able to pick up your program book, badge, and other material. Preregistered folks can avoid the registration step, but they will still need to pick up the program book, etc., here. (There will be signs indicating what, where, etc.) You will also be able to purchase a weekend parking pass. And acquire a wristband to gain access to the Hospitality room where drinks are served (adults only). The other Hospitality room offers snacks and non-alcoholic beverages for fans of any age.
In the first ballroom on the right is the Art Show. At 2,162 square feet, and well lit, it’s an excellent venue for displaying art. Some art programming will take place here as well. Be sure to make time to visit. Rose Wilson always comes up with an excellent selection of genre artists to display everything from sketches to paintings to 3d soft sculpture to metal robot figurines. Really great stuff. I guarantee you’ll be delighted.
Further along on the right are two ballrooms combined into one space for the Vendors, for a grand total of 3,167 square feet. Also well lit, there will be plenty of room for myriad vendors offering everything from books to games, from Roman coins to leather corsets, and much else besides. Be sure to browse through several times. You never know what might catch your eye.
Both the art show and the vendors’ room, and indeed this entire section, will be open to the general public in the hope of increased sales for both artists and vendors. This is also a form of publicity for the con itself and may lead to spur of the moment decisions to purchase memberships. At the very least, for non-VCON guests of the hotel and people in the nearby Guildford mall (one of the largest in Canada), we constitute an extra tourist attraction.
Getting back to the corridor leading off the lobby to the right, after the first turn to the left you will pass between the restaurant/lounge on the left, and a computer work area, and then a gift shop, on the right. Then, just before the corridor bends to the left again, you will see a small boardroom on the right, only 207 square feet in size. Just enough space for a board table and about 8 chairs. Here the Writers Workshops take place. These are closed sessions, one each day, each three hours long. All 3 workshops are now full, but there are waiting lists in case of dropouts.
Contact info: Writers Workshops
The proposed Pitch Sessions will also take part in this room (and possibly other programming). Here individuals will enter the room one at a time to pitch a novel or story idea at an editor and learn what a professional editor’s response would be. We might have a film maker on hand to listen to movie proposals. In any event, the idea is to provide a one-on-one learning experience that will give you a good idea of what does or does not work when pitching your ideas in person or in writing.
The corridor continues into a kind of mini-lobby by a main hotel entrance. On the left are two doors. The first, closest to the corridor, leads to Barnston A, where is the combined Operations/Volunteers HQ which is 893 square feet in area. We encourage people to volunteer to help the convention run smoothly. There are myriad tasks. Everything from checking wristband “ID” at the “Wet” hospitality entrance to guarding vendors’ tables while the vendor takes a washroom break or goes for a meal. We can always find a use for more volunteers. We especially need volunteers to load equipment out of the hotel Sunday night and Monday morning. Extra perks will be provided. All volunteers earn perks of some kind, depending on number of hours served, up to and including free memberships.
For details contact Volunteers
Operations is vital to the con as well. Any convention AV equipment which stops functioning, items needing moving, daily newspaper to be printed, more posters needed, and sundry other tasks are the purview of operations. It is the nerve centre of the convention. Also the centre for radio communications between ConCom staff members, especially necessary in the event of a problem requiring urgent solution. Sharing space with Volunteer HQ is very handy. Operations will need volunteers too.
Console Gaming, in Barnston B and entered through the door beyond operations entrance, has 1,241 square feet to play with. There will be multiple console gaming systems on hand, including, rumour has it, a Colecovision set-up with the original Donkey Kong, Ladybug, and other antique games. Tournaments are tentatively planned. Prizes may be involved. Like operations and Operations / Volunteers HQ, Console gaming will be open all day and all night from start to finish of the convention.
The Fraser Room will host Tabletop and Board Gaming. A grand total of 3,248 square feet of space will be available. The famed VCON gaming library will be on hand for gamers to pick a game and try it out with friends at an empty table. Some tables will be reserved for particular games at particular times. There will no doubt be tournaments organized, probably with prizes. This room will also be open around the clock.
An interesting feature of these three rooms is that permission to bring in snack items from the gift shop, or order takeout from the restaurant to consume while volunteering/gaming, has been written into the contract with the hotel. First time in 41 years of VCONs this has been arranged, I believe.
Another feature of these three rooms, along with the Art Show and the Vendors’ hall, is the ease of access for load-in/load-out. Simply back your vehicle to the curb, open the door to the corridor or foyer, open the door to the room, and carry your goods, art boards, whatever, straight and level a short distance. I don’t know of any local hotel with better ease of access. A dream come true for them as lifts the loads.
End of tour for ground floor. See below for tour of second floor.
SECOND FLOOR MAP
TYNEHEAD BALLROOMS (1)
A, B, & C = Large Programming
D = Fan and Organization Tables in Foyer
GREEN TIMBER ROOMS (2, 3, 4, & 5)
= Medium Programming
TRILLIUM ROOM (6)
= “Dry” Hospitality lounge with Snacks
DOGWOOD ROOM (7)
= “Wet” Hospitality Lounge with Bar (Adults Only)
TOUR OF SECOND FLOOR CONVENTION SPACE
Starting once again in the main floor lobby, your back to the entrance, you’ll note an open double flight of stairs on your left. Go up the stairs (or take one of the elevators just beyond and to the right of the stairs) to the second floor. With the exception of the fitness pool and the outdoor pool, the entire floor is devoted to VCON 41 convention space.
The corridor on your right has, as you go down it, four rooms on the left, known as the “Green Timber rooms,” each just over 800 square feet in size. These rooms are ideal for medium-sized programming events.
It is currently anticipated that one of these rooms will be entirely devoted to Monster Attack Team Canada, a group of model makers many of whom are experienced professionals in the special effects film industry. This includes Film Design GoH Eric Chu. In addition to model workshops and lectures put on by the M.A.T.C. members, a number of panels and lectures by other professionals will occur, possibly including talks by GoH Jamie Anderson.
A second Green Timber room will be devoted to interactive events such as Human Battleship, Name That Genre Tune, Pencils at High Noon, and so on. The point is there will always be something going on in the room that you can get actively involved in, as opposed to being a passive observer. It will be a “happening” kind of room.
A third room will be devoted to workshops you sign up for in advance, such as “Frankenstuffies” or the ever popular “Monster Stomp” (great for kiddies). Certain types of demos may take place here.
The fourth room will be devoted mostly to authors’ readings but may include literary-themed panels and interviews as well.
At the end of the hall, on the right, are the entrances to the Trillium and Dogwood rooms, featuring a combined space of 1,265 square feet for our Hospitality lounge. The Dogwood will feature a licensed bar staffed by licensed servers. Adults only. No minors permitted. (Because that’s the law.) The bar will serve mostly beer and cider, and perhaps some wine. No hard liquor (for that you need to go to the hotel bar on the ground floor beside the hotel restaurant). Basic snacks like nuts and pretzels will be on hand to go with the beer. There is no price list, but suggested donations are encouraged. Donations need to cover the cost of the beer, and potentially, should the beer start to run out before the con is over, the purchase of more beer. So give generously to keep hospitality functioning!
The Trillium room, open to kids as well as adults, will offer snacks, soft drinks, and perhaps fruit juice. Again, donations are required to keep the room open and functioning.
It should be noted that nothing in the way of meals will be provided. We are contractually obligated NOT to compete with the hotel restaurant facilities in any way. No cooking is allowed, for example. So expect things like bread, cheese, simple sandwich fixings, platters of veggies, maybe some fruit, some cold cuts, cereal, buns, chips, nuts, pretzels, and the like. Suitable for munching on, but not what you’d call a real meal. If that’s what you want, go to the hotel restaurant, or the fast food court in the nearby Guildford Mall, or any of the restaurants in the vicinity.
It should also be noted by one and all that the purpose of Hospitality is (and has always been right from the first VCON in 1971) to serve as a kind of “Green Room” where attendees can take a break from the con and relax in a convivial atmosphere conversing with friends and, who knows, maybe a Guest of Honour or two. For many professionals, VCON is a kind of relaxacon where they can mingle with attendees without the artificial barriers of GoH vs. attendee so often found at “expo”-type conventions. VCON is user-friendly.
Now, retracing our steps back along the corridor, and going past first the stairwell and then the elevators, we come to the Tynehead Ballroom Foyer, where we anticipate numerous fan group information tables will be present. You can talk to the people staffing the tables, pick up some brochures, and generally expand your knowledge of all the fannish options in the Lower Mainland.
On your right will be the entrances to the three sections of the Tynehead Ballroom. Going A through C, they are respectively 1,087 feet square, 1,140 feet square, and 1,125 feet square. These are our major function space programming rooms. The Friday Book Launch will take place in one of these, the Saturday night Dance, Opening and Closing ceremonies, perhaps sword-fighting demos, keynote addresses by the GoHs, special programming like GoH Robert J. Sawyer interviewing GoH Jamie Anderson, and whatever else we deem likely to draw a large audience. One of the ballroom sections will be equipped with appropriate AV equipment.
This is just a general description of the hotel function space and the use we intend to make of it. There will be lots to see and do. Remember, the main purpose of attending VCON 41 is to relax, enjoy yourself, and have fun!
Meanwhile, here is some contact information of possible use to you: