NEWS

Furnal Equinox Open Forum Summary

Thank you to those of you who were able to attend our Open Forum! We hope you got some answers to your questions, and have a better understand of where we are and where we’re going.

You can watch the Open Forum again here, on YouTube!

The topics we covered were the following:

Furnal Solstice

As can be expected, we won’t be holding a physical event this year. We have some upcoming initiatives to bring some holiday celebrations to our attendees, and we’ll be announcing those soon!

If you’re interested in supporting Furnal Solstice, please email them at solstice@anthroeventsont.org, or connect on Facebook or Twitter at @AnthroEventsOnt.

Furnal Equinox

As an event, we managed to get through the cancellation last year in a good position. We’ve had a lot of attendee support to see us through, and for that, we’re very grateful. Refunds are still available if your circumstances have changed, please reach out to our Registration team if so.

Given the current situation with COVID-19, we are currently negotiating with the hotel to determine how best to proceed forward. We expect to be able to announce any decisions made within the next 30 days.

We’ve made some major changes to our website. Take a look around! If you’ve got web experience, we’re definitely looking for more volunteers to help us make it awesome, please apply on the Volunteer page.

Potential Virtual Event

While we’ve not officially decided to cancel, we have put off our registration opening and we are looking very seriously at the current situation. Because of this, we’re beginning to look into options for a virtual event.

If you’re interested in any of the following, please reach out to us at virtual@furnalequinox.com!

  • Sharing your experience with
    • virtual events (art streams, collaborative streams, co-op gaming)
    • specific streaming platforms (Twitch, Discord, Zoom, Hopin, etc)
    • specific virtual platforms (VRChat, Second Life, MineCraft, etc)
  • Actually helping us plan an event like this
  • Interested in supporting us during the event
  • Or you simply have some ideas

We know that any virtual event will not be the same as the Furnal Equinox you know and love, but if we need to cancel for attendee safety, we want to offer the best experience that we can, and we can’t do that without the help of our community.

Fundraising

Because Furnal Equinox has a variety of expenses year-round, we’ve also created some fundraising opportunities. You can see the items we’re going to be selling here (currently a lovely t-shirt and retro pin), and we will be making an announcement when sales will be opening. Stay tuned on social media!

Sincerely yours,

Aaeden Aranor

Convention Chair

State of the Convention

It feels as if every day of 2020 so far has brought us something new, for better or worse. As we, and subsequently many other events have cancelled in the wake of COVID-19 and the situation with the pandemic, we’ve seen the furry community come together in many ways—online events have served as a temporary stand-in for in-person conventions, and they continue to do so while improving those online experiences with each new event.

The storm still rages, and it is in this storm that we start to look forward to our next planned event: Furnal Equinox 2021.

Normally, this would be a time to tell you all “it begins” once again — first the hotel opening, then next thing you know, panels, DJs, and soon after, yet another awesome convention. However, with the current worldwide situation and a tumultuous road ahead of us, we’ve had to make necessary changes to the norms we’re all used to.

 

FURNAL EQUINOX 2021 REGISTRATION DATES PUSHED BACK

Given the uncertainty of how long this pandemic will last and our capacity to hold and event next year, we have decided to push back opening all forms of registration for Furnal Equinox until early 2021. Promising an event before we can be relatively sure it will proceed as planned would be something of a disservice to our community, especially whilst we all navigate the challenges that 2020 throws at us. We will continue to monitor the situation and post updates accordingly.

As a reminder, Furnal Equinox 2021 is currently scheduled for March 19-21st, 2021. The convention is planned to have the same theme (Retro Rewind), same Guests of Honour (Anyare and Dr. Wildlife), the same charity (Hobbitstee Wildlife Refuge), and same amazing venue — the Westin Harbour Castle.

 

HOTEL RESERVATIONS

In accordance with registration for the event being pushed back, we will also be postponing hotel reservations until early 2021.

While we acknowledge we have been relatively quiet of late, we will have some other changes coming down the pipe as we continue making our way toward 2021. We’re excited to share those changes with you as we further develop them.

As always, stay tuned into our social media accounts on Twitter and/or Facebook and follow our website for information updates as we continue to progress through these tough, unprecedented times.

#BlackLivesMatter

A Letter From Furnal Equinox Leadership

To us, the furry fandom has always been a place where people have sought out inclusion and equality. We were built from a collection of people coming together under a common banner, and we made efforts to recognize diversity and voices that often go unheard. Even in the fandom, however, we see the same patterns followed that are currently a problem in the rest of the world.

Furnal Equinox, as an event representing members of the furry community, believes it is our duty to bring these types of situations to the forefront. The specific circumstance on everyone’s mind right now is the struggle of the black community, suffering from numerous injustices. The deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Laquan McDonald, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Amy Cooper, George Floyd, D’Andre Campbell, and others, a complete list of which would carry on for pages, act as rallying cries for the black community. They are crying out that #BlackLivesMatter.

Protests, predominantly peaceful, are being met with additional violence from a broken system. The fandom is joining those protests, either in person, by raising their voices, or by opening their wallets to the cause.

AWARENESS

Various grassroots initiatives have kicked off within our community, with some being very practical efforts, and others more awareness-building. Multiple artists have opened for commissions and streams dedicated to supporting causes representing the Black Lives Matter movement.  The hashtag #UnderneathTheFursona has served to highlight many BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) creators and members of our community. Individuals who are themselves at risk for raising awareness are listening to police scanners and contacting protesters on the front lines to make them aware of entrapment practices by authorities that threaten or endanger them.

ACTION

As simple as it is to draft a statement and stand behind a message of awareness, we need to consider the long-term impact to our community. Like the preparations linked to COVID-19 this year, and future considerations for 2021, we have to treat the current situation seriously and consider how this currently applies to us as a fandom, and also as an event.

We will be making a specific initiative, both reactive and proactive, to engage members of the community who feel unheard in order to identify challenges for our event on a whole.

  • If we’ve overlooked equality and equity in our processes, or you don’t feel you have the same ability to be represented whether you identify with these current world events or if you feel marginalized in other ways, we would be happy to hear from you at diversity@furnalequinox.com.
  • We will also be proactively reaching out to members of our fandom who identify as part of the affected community and ask if there are items that we as an event can do better, encouraging an active change of culture at Furnal Equinox.

Additionally, we will be further evaluating our event policies to ensure that we’re not unintentionally advocating for or ignoring causes of concerns for our attendee base. We appreciate all the recommendations and suggestions that have been forwarded our way directly and over social media.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

If you are a member of the affected community (or similar marginalized communities), there is a strong awareness of the necessity of mutual support, and again, if there’s anything we can do to support you, please reach out to us at the email address above. If you’re willing to join our team to make a difference in our organization or for our attendees, we look forward to speaking with you!

If you do not identify with the affected community? Educate yourself.

  • John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight: “Police” (Link) (June 7, 2020) – Currently only available in the USA, although this content has been mirrored elsewhere.
  • Vice: “How to Talk to Relatives Who Care More About Looting Than Black Lives” (Link) (June 4, 2020)
  • Hasan Minhaj’s Patriot Act Digital Exclusive: “We Cannot Stay Silent About George Floyd” (Link) (June 3, 2020) CW: Contains Scenes of Graphic Violence
  • Late Night with Seth Meyers: “Amber Ruiffin’s Experience with the Police” (Link) (June 2, 2020)
  • Trevor Noah (from The Daily Show) Instagram Post (Link) (May 29th, 2020)
  • Hasan Minhaj’s Patriot Act: “The Broken Policing System” (Link) (September 9, 2019)
  • Baratunde Thurstan’s TED Talk: “How to deconstruct racism, one headline at a time” (Link) June 26, 2019

Assuming you’re already in support, do what is practical for you.

  • Support black-owned businesses and creators.
  • Donate to causes, either directly or through donation drives.
  • Vocalize your support.
  • Vote, sign petitions, or write in to lawmakers or representatives to ask or demand for change.
  • Educate yourself further. This is an opportunity for us to be aware of current events, to champion the cause, and to assist in implementing change.
  • Take time for yourself where possible. Recognize that you are privileged to be able to, but give yourself some time to recharge your batteries and take care of yourself.
  • For a fairly exhaustive list of support resources, please refer to Ways You Can Help (on Carrd.co).

SUMMARY

Diversity and inclusion is part of what has made our community great, but we recognize that we can do better. As a powerful group of people who care about each other, we must continue to create opportunities for change going forward. Right now, that means focusing on the movement that needs the most attention.

#BlackLivesMatter

Sincerely,

Aaeden Aranor
Convention Chair
(on behalf of Furnal Equinox)

Scani
Board President
(on behalf of Anthropomorphic Events of Ontario)

Cancellation: Next Steps

With our cancellation announcement last week, it’s been a rollercoaster of emotions in our community as we continue to monitor and react to the rapidly-escalating situation in Canada and around the world. However, we’ve also seen how our community can get through difficult times together and keep each other’s spirits up, and we’ve never seen as much support as we have now.

As we all continue to ride out the storm, there’s plenty of information for all our attendees to follow up on. We’re always working our hardest to keep you updated and to process everyone’s requests, but we ask our community to be patient as we take things step-by-step.

FURNAL EQUINOX 2021

As of now, our current direction is NOT to postpone our 2020 event to a later date given the uncertainty with how long the global pandemic will last, as well as conflicting with other events that are already scheduled for later in the year. Instead, we will look forward to hosting our convention at Furnal Equinox 2021 which is currently scheduled for March 19-21st, 2021.

The 2021 convention will have the same theme (Retro Rewind), same Guests of Honour (Anyare and Dr. Wildlife), and same amazing venue at the Westin Harbour Castle, but with twice the fun to make up for this year. This decision is made with ensuring that our attendees can plan accordingly for that event, and respecting the rest of the furry community as we continue to face the challenges that 2020 throws at us.

COMMUNITY ONLINE EVENTS

While we might not be able to meet up with our friends and socialize in-person (or fur-son), our community has banded together to create some alternative experiences through online channels. You can check out some of these online events here:

CHARITY – THE HOBBITSTEE WILDLIFE REFUGE

Everyone has been feeling the impact from this year’s difficult times, but our charitable nature doesn’t let us stop our community efforts to help those in need. We encourage all our attendees to support our Charity, the Hobbitstee Animal Rescue, and help realize their charity goals in place of our convention. Some of the online events listed above will also have opportunities to donate, so make sure you tune in!

FURNAL EQUINOX 2020: Q&A SESSION

We’ve been flooded with many questions and ideas over the past week’s time with the rapid change in the year’s event, and we’re aiming to provide opportunities to continue answering those questions. Join some of Furnal Equinox’s key leadership in addressing your questions in a live Q&A session, which we’ll be planning to host on a weekend. Details, date and a link to the live Q&A session will be announced soon!

REGISTRATION

Our team will be automatically rolling over all 2020 registrations to next year’s convention. If you are comfortable with a rollover, please don’t email us as it will be done automatically.

For those that would like to donate their registrations (not rollover) to help make 2021’s event even better, or to inquire about a refund, please let us know by emailing registration@furnalequinox.com.

Some of our attendees have asked when registration for our next convention will open, and at the moment our current focus is to address all of our 2020 concerns before we prepare our 2021 registration cycle. We’ll make sure we announce our plans for registration as the year progresses.

SPONSOR/SUPERSPONSOR PERKS

For our Sponsors, Supersponsors and our Benefactors, our decision regarding all perks and physical “swag” items is to rollover everything to our 2021 event. This means if you’ve elected to rollover your 2020 registration, you will be able to pick up your swag next year.

However should you wish to donate your membership level, or request a refund, please let our Registration team know by email. If you would like to donate your registration, you will not be eligible for 2020 swag. If you want to donate your membership but still receive swag, simply rollover to 2021 and pick up your swag there (no action needed). Please note that we are not able to offer partial refunds at this time; we would refund your entire registration amount if you request a refund.

DEALERS AND VENDORS

Dealers should have received further information via the email that they have registered with for their table. If you have any further inquiries, our Dealers team would be happy to assist you at dealers@furnalequinox.com.

HOTEL RESERVATIONS

The Westin Harbour Castle is allowing ALL attendees to cancel their room up to 24 hours before their check-in date, compared to the standard 72 hours. Please use the Westin Harbour Castle website and call them directly through their phone channels, found on the website. If you cancel following the 24 hours before your check-in date, you will still be subject to a one-night stay charge.

For reservations at the Novotel overflow hotel, contact the Novotel directly using the contact information found on the Novotel Toronto Centre Hotel website.

TRAVEL CANCELLATIONS OR CHANGES

We recommend contacting your travel provider, airline, or transit company for any refunds or changes that could be made. Due to the situation with COVID-19, many travel services and providers are offering refunds or changes for free – check with your arrangements to see if you qualify.

As always, stay tuned into our social media accounts and follow our website for information updates as we continue to progress through these tough, unprecedented times.