Hal-Con 2023: A Guide to Halifax’s Sci-Fi and Gaming Convention

Girl in a nurse costume

Step into the captivating realms of science fiction and fantasy at Hal Con Halifax, the premier sci-fi and fantasy convention in Atlantic Canada and the largest gathering of its kind east of Montreal. Immerse yourself in a weekend tailored for enthusiasts from around the world as Hal Con beckons you to delve into diverse themes of the genre through an array of exciting activities.

Whether you’re a seasoned convention-goer or a newcomer, this guide equips you with everything you need to fully embrace the enchantment and wonder that Hal Con 2023 has in store.

What is Hal Con?

The Hal Con Sci-Fi, Fantasy & Comic Convention, known simply as Hal Con for short, is Atlantic Canada’s largest sci-fi and gaming convention, bringing a variety of celebrity guests, cosplayers and vendors to Halifax, Nova Scotia each year.

Initially started in the late 1970s, Hal Con was a popular convention throughout most of the 80s. However, after ten years of attracting comic book enthusiasts and lovers of the sci-fi and fantasy genres, the conventions ceased their annual celebrations following the 1987 event.

Two Decades later, a group of individuals within the Halifax regional municipality breathed new life into the convention, with 2010 representing the official return of Hal-Con.  Over the past decade, the new Hal Con Sci-Fi, Fantasy & Comic Convention has come to be known as the geekiest sci-fi convention in Atlantic Canada, attracting cosplayers and fans of the celebrated genres from all over the world.

Events and Things to Do at Hal Con 2023

From meeting celebrity guests to partaking in a series of workshops, gaming centres and costume contests, Hal Con promises a full weekend packed with fun and exciting things to do. These are just some of the top activities guests can expect from Halifax’s biggest sci-fi and fantasy convention.

Collection of comic books

1. Panels & Q&A Sessions

Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes to produce the magic content within your favourite sci-fi TV shows, movies, or comic books? Well, at Hal Con, you can find out with several celebrity panels and Q&A Sessions with professionals within the field.

From actors to writers and artists, some of the biggest names featured at the 2023 event include Timothy Zahn, a published writer known for his Star Wars novels, Oded Fehr, known for his role as Ardeth Bay in The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, and the famous Arthur C Clark Award Winner, Adrian Tchaikovsky.

Along with attending discussion panels, visitors can get up close and personal with their favourite guests at the autograph and photo booths located throughout the venue.

2. Cosplay & Costume Contests

What would a sci-fi and fantasy convention be without some incredible cosplay of all of your favourite characters from throughout the genres? While not mandatory, Hal Con encourages guests to dress up as their favourite heroes, villains, or any other character and even awards the best costumes with prizes in several categories, including the best video game characters, best group costumes, and best look-alike.

While the convention runner encourages guests to be as creative as they can, Hal Con is a family event and maintains an appropriate clothing policy. This means your costumes cannot include nudity, promote offensive ideologies, or pose a risk to others’ safety.

3. Workshops and Demonstrations

Guests can receive a hands-on look at the production of various pieces of sci-fi and fantasy content with several workshops and demonstrations put on throughout the Hal Con weekend. These can include anything from the best comic book-making practices to cosplaying tips and tricks and even often include demonstrations of swordplay.

4. Vendor Marketplaces

Guests can find a wide variety of sci-fi and fantasy paraphernalia scattered throughout Hal Con’s vendor marketplace located within the ballroom floor level off the Halifax Convention Center. Here, visitors will find plenty of vendors selling all the souvenirs they can hope for, including comic books, model collections and replicas, posters, board games, and other forms of art and souvenirs.

5. Gaming Centres

With a floor dedicated to gaming, Hal Con is home to the largest gaming convention east of Montreal. It promises over 100 tables scattered across 15,000 square feet and offers everything from miniature war games to classic board games and collectible card games.

Along with its tabletop gaming, Hal Con also features a diverse catalogue of video games and offers a deep library of games on new-generation consoles along with classical arcade-style machines.

The Halifax Convention Center

When is Hal Con 2023?

Hal Con is traditionally held each fall. This year, the Hal Con Sci-Fi, Fantasy & Comic convention is scheduled for October 27 – 29, 2023.

Where is Hal Con 2023 Held?

Hal Con 2023 is being held at the Halifax Convention Centre, where it has been hosted since the venue’s construction in 2017. 

Address: 1650 Argyle St, Halifax

How to Get Your Hal Con Tickets

Weekend passes to Hal Con 2023 start at $120.00 per ticket. Single-day passes are also available at varying prices, starting at $40.00 for Friday access. You can purchase your tickets here.

The Best Hotel in Halifax for Attending the Hal Con 2023

Located just a 3-minute walk from the venue, Cameo Suites offers comfortable and affordable accommodation near the Hal Con. With a selection of studio and multi-bedroom suites, we are a fantastic base for immersing in the sci-fi and fantasy atmosphere of the convention, whether you are visiting by yourself or with a group.

Be sure to book your room in advance, as units tend to fill up fast as we approach the event’s dates.