Yeticon Guide: 2023 edition!
If you plan on going, definitely keep in mind the notable changes that are taking place for the convention.
YetiCon is an awesome convention in a very unique setting that’s totally a fun experience. Find out why in this complete guide!
NOTE: Scroll to the bottom if you just want to read the 10 tips (and a fun little fact). Start here if you want the full YetiCon guide!
Date: Mid-June (June 17 and 18 in 2023)
Location: Blue Mountain Resort (2 hours away from Toronto, Ontario) and a 10 minute drive from Collingwood (a city in Ontario that’s right beside the resort).
Hotel room availability: Good in 2023!
Badge cost: $20 for a YetiCon pass, $44 for a “Play All Day” pass (not including tax)
Hotel rooms: Varies
Parking: Free outdoor parking beside the resort entrance all weekend. Paid underground parking overnight.
Budget: Approximately $400-$500 CAD if lodging with 3 other roommates ($200-$300 for hotel, $60 for food, $70 for weekend pass, $30-$50 for gas if you plan on driving, $50 for items in the dealer’s room).
Overall costs: It’s definitely more expensive than your typical small convention, due to YetiCon being at a resort.
Here are some quick facts about YetiCon:
- Takes place at Blue Mountain, a resort that’s a couple of hours away from Toronto, Ontario. Although driving to the convention is fairly easy, getting there by bus is a bit trickier, but I got you covered. (More on this in the “Getting to YetiCon” section).
- The YetiCon weekend pass allows you to take part in Blue Mountain’s resort activities for free at a specific time (or you can use them at a discounted rate outside of these specified times). Some of these unconventional (pun intended) activities include zip lining, gondola rides and pool parties!
- YetiCon started in 2016. It’s already 6 years old. Time flies!
- For the 2023 edition of YetiCon, things have changed quite considerably. Read more in the YetiCon Programming and Guests section.
Like my previous Anime North guide, here’s what this YetiCon guide will cover:
- I. Getting to YetiCon and Location
- II. YetiCon Venue
- III. Cosplay Photoshoot Opportunities at YetiCon
- IV. YetiCon Programming and Guests
- V. YetiCon Lodging Options
- VI. Food And Drinking
- VII. Verdict
- VIII. Pro Tips
- IX: ???
I. Getting to YetiCon and Location
While Blue Mountain is known as a ski resort in the winter, it’s still a popular destination for summer activities. And definitely a great place for a convention getaway.
So how do you get to Blue Mountain for YetiCon?
Driving to YetiCon is by far the easiest way to reach the convention. The drive is very enjoyable; you go through some beautiful scenic roads in order to reach the resort!
And here are directions from Google Maps from various cities a few hours away from Blue Mountain, and how long it would take to reach by car:
NOTE: Be careful about using Highway 407, as it is a toll road and you’ll have to pay a lot of money if you drive through a long stretch of it. You’re better off driving on Highway 401 or using the country roads for free.
Other ways to reach YetiCon
1) YetiCon shuttle bus: like previous years, YetiCon has 1 chartered shuttle bus that picks up passengers near Finch subway station in Toronto on the Friday at 3:00 P.M. sharp. On Sunday, the shuttle bus arrives at Blue Mountain Resort at 5:30 P.M. to bring you back to Finch station. It costs about $90 CAD round-trip to use this bus. This is the best option if you or your roommates don’t have access to a car and you plan to stay the entire weekend. However, if your schedule is outside of that availability (e.g. you can only attend Saturday and Sunday, not Friday), then unfortunately you’re out of luck for this option.
2) YetiCon carpooling group: YetiCon has setup a group for con goers to carpool together. Maybe you and someone else with a car are leaving from the same town. Offer to pitch in for gas/food and carpool together!
3) I do not recommend trying Public Transit. Before the pandemic, it was technically possible to reach YetiCon by public transit. I figured out a way that involved taking the Greyhound to Collingwood, then using the Collingwood local bus to Blue Mountain. However, post-pandemic has changed things. As far as I know, Greyhound no longer exists in Canada, and I’m not sure if there’s even public transit running in Collingwood anymore. So this option is no longer viable. You could try taking the suburban GO Transit to Barrie, but then you’ll have to pay for a super expensive taxi/uber ride all the way to Blue Mountain (from Barrie it’s at least another 1.5 hours). So TLDR: Take the YetiCon shuttle or arrange private transit.
II. YetiCon Venue
Blue Mountain is a beautiful and fun resort, so this makes YetiCon already different from your typical convention. The resort is pretty big, but many of the convention activities are in and around the village.
Click here for the map of the resort.
- Plunge Aquatic Centre
- Various spots in the village for photoshoots
- Various Ride and activities when the specific time is selected to be free.
NOTE: The Village Conference Centre won’t be available as a venue during YetiCon this year.
The Plunge Aquatic Centre at YetiCon is a massive pool with a waterslide, hot tub and even basketball nets! This is where a lot of congoers hangout for most of the day, having fun in the pool in cosplay in the summer heat.
There’s a bunch of nice little spots in the village where cosplayers hangout to do photoshoots. I’ll explain them more in the next section.
You don’t have to worry about any of these venues being crowded; YetiCon is still a small convention and you’ll have plenty of space and breathing room for the whole weekend. You can easily walk around the resort and not feel like you’re hitting shoulder-to-shoulder with someone.
III. Cosplay Photoshoot Opportunities at YetiCon
If you’re a serious cosplayer or photographer, you NEED to head up to YetiCon and take advantage of the amazing setting! You don’t have to worry about the hassles and downsides of shooting at a typical large convention, such as crowded hallways or bad interior lighting.
Blue Mountain Resort has numerous photoshoot opportunities for a variety of cosplays. Here are a few:
- The resort village area itself is a great spot for cosplay photos. With cobblestone streets and colourful buildings, the village is a picturesque place. It does get busy during the day, so try going around dawn or dusk (those are the best times to shoot anyway). There’s also a gazebo at the front entrance of the village. Although it’s not as legendary as the one at Katsucon, it makes for a good spot for a few photos.
- The pools at the resort are great for beach cosplays. Both at the Plunge Aquatic Centre pool, as well as the private ones that are part of the village hotel. Since YetiCon takes place during the off-peak season for Blue Mountain, you’ll find that the private pools are quiet, even during the day.
- Blue Mountain is a ski resort, so you can utilize the “mountainous” landscape (okay it’s actually just a hill but for us East Coast/Midwest people it’s basically a mountain). The view from up top makes for great wide angle shots. But to get a really great view, you’ll have to hike up the rest of the way. The view is gorgeous and you can see Georgian Bay from that high up!
- The Mill Pond: There’s a large pond at the resort, with a colourful hotel in in the background. This is a popular spot to take a photo, both for cosplayers and Normies alike. You might have to wait your turn, but it’s worth it!
Lots of cosplay photographers come up to YetiCon, so you shouldn’t have any issues finding one. All of them are awesome!
IV. YetiCon Programming and Guests
There are some MAJOR changes to YetiCon’s programming for 2023. You can all the official details by clicking here. But in short:
- YetiCon will be a 2-day event on Saturday June 17 and Sunday June 18th. It won’t be a 3-day event like in previous years.
- There will be no panels or guests for YetiCon this year. However, as far as I know, there will be a dealer’s room to buy stuff!
- The activities and photoshoots opportunities at Blue Mountain are still around. And unlike previous years, you can access these activities anytime you want! In previous years, you could only access the activities for free at a certain allotted time (with a YetiCon pass).
- Because the convention has scaled down, the prices for badges are also cheaper this year. The $20 for a “Explore All Day” allows you to access the photoshoot locations in Blue Mountain, as well as the Gondola lift. Meanwhile, the $44 “Play All Day” pass allows you to take part in the Blue Mountain activities such as the Plunge! Aquatic Centre and Rock Climbing, for one day.
For attendees coming to YetiCon, it’s more about getting to use the rides/activities at Blue Mountain more than looking for a typical Anime convention experience. This is the mindset you should have if you’re considering attending this con. You’re not looking for an Anime convention; you’re looking for resort-themed Anime convention!
Here are some of the activities that YetiCon pass allows you to use at Blue Mountain:
Plan for bad weather…especially for YetiCon!
It’s worth noting that because YetiCon relies on Blue Mountain’s outdoor activities for the convention programming, the weather plays a big role. Things do become problematic if the weather isn’t cooperating. When I attended in 2017, there were heavy showers and thunderstorms on Friday and Saturday. So the convention had to postpone quite a few activities (e.g. the pool party) to Sunday because of this. I remember seeing a few photoshoots being ruined because it started pouring rain heavily. It really sucks but that’s the reality of attending an outdoor-focused event like YetiCon.
V. YetiCon Lodging Options
Let’s talk about Blue Mountain Village Hotel first, since these are the ones right at the resort. Man, these are fun to stay at! What do you get with it?
- A full-fledged kitchen (refrigerator, stove, oven and even a dishwasher)
- A living room with a table and a faux fireplace
- 2 televisions: one in the living room, one in the bedroom (with most rooms)
- A large washroom and shower
- There’s a balcony overlooking the village and resort (my room was directly above the village entrance).
- You also have access to the hot tub and private swimming pool inside the hotel grounds. Nothing like sitting in a nice warm tub in the evening looking at the stars!
The Blue Mountain Village Hotel used to cost about $200-$250 CAD a night for a 1 bedroom. But with the 2023 prices, they are going for well over $300 CAD a night. However, if you’re splitting the room with 3-4 other people, it’ll ease the financial burden on everyone. Despite the higher hotel price, I highly recommend booking the Blue Mountain Village Hotel to get the best YetiCon experience. It’s one of my favourite convention hotels of all time.
The other option under the YetiCon hotel block is the Blue Mountain Inn. While not as stacked on amenities and features like the resort village hotels, the Blue Mountain Inn is a great option if you have fewer roommates, want to save money and still stay in the resort area. The Blue Mountain Inn is a 5-10 minute walk from the village. Or you can either take a free shuttle bus from the Inn to the village.
Other lodging options
Because of the availability and the insane prices at Blue Mountain this year, staying at an inn or motel in nearby Collingwood is a viable option. However, unlike in 2019, the prices in Collingwood have also increased, probably because of the prices at Blue Mountain. With that said, prices in the nearby city are generally going to be cheaper than hotels at the resort, and it’s only a quick taxi/Uber ride away.
Fortunately, I did some searching on Airbnb and Booking.com, and there are plenty of lodging options still available. They’re just not going to be cheap. Expect to pay at least $200-$300 CAD per night to stay around Blue Mountain.
UPDATE: Prior to 2022, there used to be a free outdoor parking lot for anyone staying onsite at the hotels. However, as far as I know, that free parking lot no longer exists. So if you want to leave your car overnight, you’ll have to park underground for $20 CAD/night.
However, if you’re just visiting for the day, you can park in the free Day parking lot. However, you’ll have to leave before the overnight hours take place.
VI. Food and Drinking
A nice perk about being at a resort is never having to worry about food. At YetiCon, you have plenty of dining options at Blue Mountain. You have quick food options such as The Pita Pit, Chuck Burger and Mile High Poutine. There’s a bunch of sit down restaurants as well such as Wild Wing and Sunset Grill. The fast food joints also stay open very late. So you can have your poutine at 1 AM with no problem!
Collingwood has plenty of options as well. There are tons of fast food joints like McDonald’s and Wendy’s, as well as restaurants such as Boston Pizza and Swiss Chalet. Keep in mind that if you’re staying in the village, you do have a kitchen that’s included with the hotel, so take advantage of it! Collingwood has a Wal-Mart and Metro for your grocery needs.
If you plan on drinking during the weekend, your best bet would be to stop by the LCBO and The Beer Store in Collingwood along the way. Or you can stop by the numerous bars at the resort, although this would be more expensive.
YetiCon is the answer for congoers who are looking for something different from your typical Anime convention. Instead of a flashy convention centre filled with Anime merchandise and high-profile guests, at YetiCon you get mountain coasters and pool parties!
If you live 4-5 hours away from Blue Mountain and you have friends who are down to spend a weekend at a resort filled with otaku activities, then definitely check out YetiCon. If the activities at Blue Mountain don’t appeal to you or you’re looking for a traditional convention experience, then you probably won’t enjoy YetiCon. That’s okay though; there are plenty of conventions that happen in Ontario all year round. Despite being a small convention, the costs are more expensive due to being on a resort. So be sure to budget more money for this con, especially for the hotel.
VIII. Pro Tips for YetiCon
- This convention lives and dies by the weather, but that doesn’t mean you have to. Plan ahead in case it does rain/thunderstorm. Bring some video games with you to play in your hotel room until the weather cooperates. I invited a bunch of my friends at the con to hangout in our room until the rain stopped. We still had a hell of a time at the convention.
- Keep in mind you are sharing the Blue Mountain resort with “normies.” For most, this is not a problem. But for some of you guys, you might feel uncomfortable cosplaying in front of them. Don’t worry though; most of them are friendly and even excited to see cosplayers. However, a few of them are pretty tipsy or drunk during Friday/Saturday evening so be aware of that!
- I saw a comment from a Facebook user, saying they were uncomfortable attending YetiCon because they weren’t fit or good looking enough. This is sad to see because that is not true! Honestly, everyone is here to have fun and make use of the resort’s cool activities. Everyone’s too busy having fun in the pool or riding the gondola to care how you look. So don’t feel intimidated at all, whatever your body type may or may not be.
- YetiCon can get pretty hot since it takes place in June. Mostly everything is outdoors so it might be hard to cool off without jumping into a pool. But not to worry. The Village Conference Centre has air conditioning and you’re sheltered from the sun. It’s a great place to cool off if you’re not staying at a hotel at the resort.
- If you’re driving to YetiCon on the Friday, be sure to leave early in order to avoid the afternoon rush hour traffic, especially in Toronto. One year I left around 1 p.m. and I still got stuck in heavy traffic in the city. So I recommend leaving no later than 12 p.m., so you can make it on time for hotel check-in, which is around 3-4 p.m.
- $200+ a night for a hotel seems pretty steep at first, but if you split the costs between 3-4 other hotel roommates, then it’s not so bad. You can decide between balancing comfort and saving costs by choosing how many roommates you want in your room. Oh, and be a good hotel roommate as well!
- Like I said earlier, if you’re serious about cosplaying then you got to take a bunch of photos of your cosplays at the resort! YetiCon has a huge variety of beautiful settings and backdrops, including: the resort village that resembles a European old town, a pond with a beautiful hotel in the background and a bunch of swimming pools for beach cosplays. You likely won’t get this much scenery all in one place. Here’s how to prepare for those cosplay photoshoots before you go.
- Aside from the usual cosplay packing list, be sure to pack these items into your suitcase as well: Swimming attire, a padlock, and sunscreen that’s waterproof. These items you wouldn’t normally bring to a convention. But these will come in handy if you’re taking part in the water activities. At the Plunge Aquatic Centre, they have lockers for you to put your stuff in, so the padlock will come in handy.
- If you’re driving up to YetiCon be sure to stop by Collingwood, which is right beside the resort. It has everything you need, whether you’re looking for alcohol or grocery supplies for your hotel. It’s also a good spot for restaurants, and even a place to sleep if you can’t afford Blue Mountain hotel prices.
- For most of you guys, you’ll likely be coming up to YetiCon with your friends. While it’ll be fun doing activities, it doesn’t mean you have to be with them the entire convention. In fact, you’ll want some time alone.
IX. Why is this convention called YetiCon?
This guide wouldn’t be complete without asking, “Why the heck is it called ‘YetiCon’?” Well, I asked the organizers and they said they were inspired by Dragon Con using the name of a mythological creature. Rumor has it that Yetis live in Blue Mountain, so it’s only fitting that they name their convention YetiCon. One year, they had an activity where if you could find the Yeti mascot and snap a photo of it, you had a chance to win a PS4!
If you want to hear more about the YetiCon, check out the Senpai Spotlight Interview I did with them!
My name is Roger Senpai. I’m a cosplayer that’s been in the community for well over a decade now. I’ve traveled all over the world to Anime and Comic conventions and hosted my own cosplay events. Now I’m writing articles for new and experienced cosplayers like you to help inspire, save you money and improve your cosplays!