Stephen Harrison and Ashleigh McDonald of the Capital Ghostbusters strike a pose in their cosplay at the Geeked Out Toy and Collectible Sale at the Nepean Sportsplex on Oct. 1. Photo credit: TJ Sider

Fans of comics, gaming and pop culture packed the Nepean Sportsplex on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 at the Geeked Out Toy and Collectible Sale.

With a turnout of over 3,000 people stretched over two days, the show floor was buzzing with activity. Guests at the show were buying vintage collectibles, playing video games and posing with Doctor Who characters. There was even a table set up with Lego pieces scattered across for kids and adults alike to play with.

Organizer Shannon O’Neill has been planning collectible sales with her husband Patrick since 2012 under the Geeked Out Events brand. Since then, pop culture exhibitions have become her full-time job.

“We’re running three events a year, (including) Gamercon happening in December,” O’Neill said. “Honestly, I just love seeing them come out. The cosplayers, the little girls dressed up. It’s amazing.”

At one vendor, people gathered to browse through books and glass cases filled with vintage Pokémon cards. At another, over fifty boxes of comic books spread across multiple tables were displayed for attendees to sift through.

The Hobby Box was a vendor specializing in selling trading card sets from franchises such as Pokémon, Magic the Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh. Owner Jason Hum has been selling cards online since 2014 and has been a vendor at other conventions such as Ottawa Comiccon, Pop X, Capital Trade Show, and Fanatic Con.

Hum said he discovered a now-valuable Pokémon card pack while searching through his parents’ basement during his high school years.

“I used to play a lot of video games and my dad would take the modem and hide it so we didn’t have internet service,” Hum explained. “So one day he had hidden the modem and we decided to try and find it. We didn’t find the modem but I did manage to find an original base set booster pack.”

Hum said that while the trading card pack wasn’t valuable back then, they have since skyrocketed in price, with some going for over $1,000 on eBay.

“We pulled a Charizard and we went crazy because we figured this would probably be the last pack we ever open,” Hum said.

Hum bought more Pokémon card packs at the 2012 Ottawa Comiccon and discovered he had gotten misprints worth $100 per pack. Since then, he was collecting so many Pokémon cards to the point where he no longer had any room to store them.

“Once I had no room, I knew I had to start selling,” Hum said.

The Ottawa chapter of the Doctor Who Society of Canada set up a booth at the show, along with the Capital Ghostbusters and the Capital City Garrison 501st Legion (a volunteer organization run by fans of Star Wars). Next to the Capital Ghostbusters booth, an inflated Stay Puft Marshmellow Man stood as attendees walked through the aisles. A fully operational Tardis phone booth was displayed next to the Doctor Who Society’s table as well.

The Doctor Who Society of Canada’s Ottawa chapter attended the show to raise money, according to Robin Vernell.

“We’re here this weekend to raise money for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario,” Vernell said. “Our goal is to bring everyone together who’s a lover of Doctor Who to help fundraise.”

O’Neill’s next event, GamerCon, will feature video game tournaments and merchandise for sale. It will take place on Dec. 2 in Halls A and B of the Nepean Sportsplex.

Story updated Oct. 10, 2023