First virtual ONA Convention free, open to everyone

The Ontario Numismatic Association (ONA) will host its first virtual convention on April 9-11, the same dates as the since-cancelled in-person gathering originally slated for Burlington.

The decision to move the three-day convention to a digital format came in mid-January, when ONA officials met to discuss the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has now forced the provincial association to cancel two of its yearly conventions. This April’s virtual convention – the first hosted by a major Canadian numismatic organization – will feature most aspects of a typical in-person convention other than the bourse, exhibits and social functions. To be held via Zoom, it’s free and open to everyone to attend. For login details, visit

“In so many ways, this is exciting and is just one more way the ONA can show our membership a willingness to do whatever it takes to stay dynamic within the numismatic world,” said outgoing ONA President Scott Douglas, whose second and final term ends on April 10, when the incoming executive is confirmed during the association’s annual general meeting (AGM).


The virtual ONA Convention kicks off on April 9 with the annual club delegates’ meeting – the third since the ONA revived the annual event in 2018.

This year’s delegates’ meeting will feature the Club of the Year (COTY) Award presentation followed by an “exciting speaker,” Douglas said.

After a brief introduction of club representatives at 9 a.m. (ET), the 90-minute meeting will include a moment of silence for ONA members who died over the past year.

Officials will then present the COTY Award, which has a special focus this year.

“Even though clubs were unable to meet in-person for most of 2020, this does not mean clubs didn’t pursue numismatic activities during the year,” said ONA club services chair Steve Woodland.

Woodland accepted nominations from ONA chapters, whose members were asked to highlight “what your club did during the year and how you coped with the COVID-19 chaos,” until March 31.

These activities could include:

  • hosting virtual meetings and shows (or in-person gatherings whenever possible);
  • co-ordinating online or mail-based auctions, trades and swap sessions;
  • producing a newsletter or other publications;
  • handing out recognition awards;
  • organizing special projects, including researching club history, developing presentations and recruiting members; and
  • supporting the local community by fundraising or food, clothing and toy drives.

Rounding out this year’s club delegates’ meeting is a presentation by Calgarian Lisa Dare, who’s the wife of collector James Williston, an honorary life member of the Calgary Numismatic Society. Her presentation is entitled “Zoom 101 – Tips and Tricks for Effective Online Meetings.” It will be followed by a question and discussion period.

The ONA has about 50 chapters and 260 individual members.


On April 10, day two of the virtual convention, Douglas will host his final AGM as ONA president, a role he began four years ago.

At the AGM, which begins at 10 a.m. (ET), Douglas will announce the President’s Literary Award and the Presidential Award winners.

Awards committee chair Chris Boyer will also announce the Award of Merit and Fellow of the ONA honours.

Beginning that day, four of the ONA’s national chapter clubs will also host one-hour meetings, “just like they would if we were meeting at the convention in person,” Douglas said. Two meetings will be held on April 10 with another two the following day.

On April 10 at 11:15 a.m. (ET), the Canadian Association of Wooden Money Collectors (CAWMC) will begin the chapter meetings with its President France Waychison.

Later that day at 3:15 p.m. (ET), the Canadian Centennial Collectors Club (CCCC) with a presentation by Jeff Wilson.

Also on April 10, the ONA will begin hosting its annual four-speaker educational symposium, with two presentations that day and another two on April 11.

On April 10 at 1 p.m. (ET), collector Bob Fritsch will delve into “The Lure and Lore of Medals,” offering an overview of medal collecting and the history behind several examples.

That will be followed at 2 p.m. (ET) by Mike Souza’s “The Occupation of Hong Kong and the Life of a Veteran,” highlighting a 15-year family history project focusing on his late father, a Battle of Hong Kong veteran.


April 11, the final day of the virtual convention, will see the ONA’s incoming executive committee host its first meeting.

This will be followed at 11:15 a.m. (ET) by a meeting of the Canadian Tire Collectors Club (CTCC) hosted by its First Vice-President Jacques Poitras.

Later that day, at 3:15 p.m. (ET), the Canadian Association of Token Collectors (CATC) will host the final club meeting of the virtual convention. Douglas, who’s also the CATC president, will lead the meeting.

Also on April 11, the final two symposium speakers include Brett Irick, who will present “A Beginner Set of Mexican Type Coins,” highlighting dozens of Mexican type coins, at 1 p.m. (ET).

At 2 p.m. (ET), Woodland will present “Ludger Gravel – Canadian Numismatist: His Life and His Tokens,” which will examine the Montréal numismatist’s life and tokens.

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