One purr-fect party: Downsview park to host its own kitty cat conference this spring


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

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.

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