A Final Word From The Chair
Another year has come and gone. Another What The Fur has filled so many of us with joy and laughter, as well as some tears. We closed the doors to the convention and sadly, this would be the final time doing so. After 8 wonderful and amazing years, we say goodbye to the splendor that has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
Usually, I use this closing letter as a place to speak of the year’s event. I will do a little of that. But I hope that you will read on as I say a little more this time. It is truly not easy to write any of this, but it all needs to be said.
This year, What The Fur welcomed 509 people to our humble little convention. And to be completely honest, that was a milestone that I didn’t think we would meet. 105 fursuiters participated in the parade, and there were several more wandering the halls and rooms. Too many for us to get a single group photo of this time. We were blown away. As a group, we managed to raise $930.35 for the Ecomuseum. Not as much as we have in years past but it isn’t the size of the donation that counts: it’s the intent and the meaning behind it.
Thank you. Everyone. Now to the part that will make me cry as I write it.
A little more than 9 years ago, four of us insane furries decided we would try and make a convention. Myself, Firebreath, Manny and Twitchy. I think it was fitting that at the end of this year, the four of us were together again to close it off. The family grew and changed as we welcomed more into the fold. I am willing to bet as well that over the 8 years of What The Fur’s existence, we have been home to thousands of people, some returning year after year and some only able to visit once. But no matter the number of times people made the trip to Montreal I am certain that good memories were made, friendships forged and of course, art was acquired.
In 8 years, we managed to raise over $18,000 for our charity. Just let that sink in for a moment. If none of you had come to What The Fur, that would never have happened. I couldn’t be prouder to have been a part of it.
As I said many times – and was very vocally and tearfully informed I was wrong about – I am just one person. I have been simply one link in the chain that held What The Fur together. I was the guy who signed the paperwork and paid the bills, but I was also the guy who brought people together to make it all happen. But in my opinion – true or not – I wasn’t all that special in the grand scheme of things. In my view, it was the staff and the volunteers that kept everything running smoothly.
To all past staff of What The Fur: In 8 years there have been too many to possibly list everyone here. But you all know who you are. Both I and you know what you did to make What The Fur shine. And for that I will be eternally grateful.
To the volunteers, security volunteers, DJs, panellists, dealers: All I can say is thank you. Some of you might have done it thinking that it was just a few hours of your time, or a weekend. Some of you might have gone in with eyes closed and not knowing what would happen. But in all cases, your help and generosity was never unnoticed, never taken for granted.
To all the attendees: Thank you for making me proud to have been a part of your lives. For letting me see the smiles and the tears. To feel the hugs and the handshakes. To make us all one big family.
To the hotels that have been our homes over the years: The Hotel Espresso, the Delta Centre-Ville, the Sheraton and the Holiday inn. You gave us a place to come and stay. You let us into your halls and rooms and you welcomed us back year after year. Your staff saw the fun we were having and smiled along with us.
To the people who graced our convention in accepting our offer to be Guests of Honour: Max Blackrabbit, gNAW, Kalika, Demicoeur, Kanthara, HollyAnn, Ookami Kemono, Catmonk Shiro, Shinigamigirl, and ECMajor. Thank you for letting us showcase your amazing skills and your even more amazing personalities. Thank you for sitting front and centre during the convention and for letting us put the spotlight on you for a little.
Thank you, my friends. Thank you for everything.
May we smile together again.
Christopher “Feli” Pilgrim
Chairperson, What The Fur