One purr-fect party

Downsview park to host its own kitty cat con­fer­ence this spring

Bayview Post - - News - by Bron­wen Keyes-Bevan

Kit­tyCatCon, Canada’s first ever cat con­fer­ence, is a two-day event that will hit Toronto this spring. Hosted in the Ware­house, a 16,000-square-foot venue in Downsview, on April 8 and 9, Kit­tyCatCon will fol­low in the foot­steps of sim­i­lar events such as L.A.’s CatCon and Tokyo’s Cat Fes­ti­val.

It’s the brain­child of cat-lov­ing sis­ters Kath­leen and Gil­lian Gook, graphic de­signer Keiko Flower and pub­li­cist Jayne Am­bler, a quar­tet that has al­ready had suc­cess with Les­lieville and Queen West mar­kets and Toronto Bak­ers Mar­ket.

“It’s go­ing to be a day of fun. And if peo­ple want to dress up, that’s even bet­ter!” says Am­bler. “We re­ally just want peo­ple to en­joy them­selves and be sur­rounded by oth­ers who love cats just as much as they do.”

Although Kit­tyCatCon’s or­ga­niz­ers say they don’t expect to fi­nal­ize de­tails un­til March, they prom­ise the event will of­fer tons of ven­dors ex­hibit­ing a huge ar­ray of cat sup­plies, toys, cloth­ing and games. They will also be part­ner­ing with a num­ber of lo­cal cat res­cue agen­cies in a bid to find for­ever homes for the city’s ever-grow­ing home­less cat pop­u­la­tion. Guests will have a chance to meet and greet a num­ber of celebrity cats (iden­ti­ties to be re­vealed soon!).

News of the cat con­fer­ence will no doubt be wel­comed by Toron­to­ni­ans who have an in­sa­tiable ap­petite for all things cats. The city al­ready boasts a cat film fes­ti­val and not one, but two cat cafés (with a third slated to open later this year).

Meow Cat Cafe in Dav­isville is a Korean-style café where owner Erica Yun’s eight cats roam free. Their main com­peti­tor, Tot The Cat Cafe, at Col­lege and Spad­ina, has come un­der fire in re­cent months af­ter al­le­ga­tions of an­i­mal ne­glect cir­cu­lated on­line. The Toronto Hu­mane So­ci­ety opted to re­move the cats from the café, although Tot has since re­plen­ished its cat pop­u­la­tion and re­mains in busi­ness.

New­comer Kitty Cat Café will open later this year. Owner Jen­nifer Moro­zowich has also founded the North Amer­i­can Cat Café Em­bassy, which preaches a “cats first” phi­los­o­phy for cat café own­er­ship. Tot The Cat Cafe is not a mem­ber.

Cat fes­ti­vals — in­clud­ing this one in Los An­ge­les (right) — are be­com­ing pop­u­lar around the world

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