By Jesse Robitaille
The Ontario Numismatic Association (ONA) is hosting its 55th annual convention in Kitchener, Ont. this April, and according to incoming President Scott Douglas, there are “many positive changes” coming down the line.
“The main registration kit has dropped to $25 from $35, and banquet tickets have dropped to $35 from $55,” said Douglas, who added there will also be a “big increase” in the number of banquet door prizes.
The bourse and exhibit floor will be open on April 22 and 23 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., respectively. Daily admission is $3, although children aged 17 and under are free. A three-day “early bird” floor pass is also available for $15.
The main registration kit, which is available for $25, includes an early bird floor pass; a copper convention medal; access to the welcome reception and hospitality suite; and a souvenir program of activities. For another $10, a spousal registration kit can be added and includes all the benefits of the main registration kit except the copper medal. A young numismatist registration kit is also available for $5.
The deadline for registration is April 9. To view the online registration form, visit the-ona.ca/2017/2017Registration
In addition to the changes coming to the convention, Douglas outlined his plans for his upcoming term, which is limited to two consecutive two-year terms as outlined by the ONA’s Constitution & By-Laws.
“I think the job is more difficult than most people understand. Having said that, there’s no doubt in my mind there are many areas of the organization that need a little tweaking.”
Douglas said for the past decade, the ONA has “suffered like many other numismatic organizations” from a dwindling membership and an aging population.
“Between these two aspects, things are deteriorating to a point where we’re losing our place,” he said, of the ONA. “The organization is there to support its members, but more importantly, the ONA was formed as an umbrella organization to support all the coin clubs in Ontario. That has eroded over time.”
Under his stewardship, Douglas said this support will be made “very clear” to clubs across the province.
“I think it’s important to the hobby,” he said, adding the organization has “strayed” from its original support role to place more emphasis on the yearly convention. “There’s a lot of stuff in between that needs to be addressed, and I feel strongly about that.”
Another area Douglas promises to focus on is education.
“Unfortunately, in North America – and Canada and the U.S., specifically – we emphasize the commercialization of this hobby too much,” said Douglas, who brought the idea of an educational symposium to the ONA Convention in 2015.
“The ONA, in my opinion, wasn’t bringing education to a lot of clubs out there that needed it.”
He said this educational slump is another thing that’s going to change.
“I’m doing my best to address this in the next little while and make people realize there’s a lot more to the hobby than buying and selling for profit.”
Douglas said he’ll know if he accomplishes his goal as ONA president if someone is ready to take his job when his first two-year term is complete in 2019.
“I want someone to step forward, and right now it’s tough; people look at it as a daunting task to get this animal back on its feet,” he said. “But I think it’s worth saving. The ONA has a tremendous history to it.”
Douglas and incoming First Vice-President Lisa McPherson will both assume their roles on April 22 at the ONA Annual General Meeting. Nominations will also be called from the floor for the position of second vice-president.
On April 21, Douglas will host a free educational symposium featuring three speakers. Mike Hollingshead will speak about Cuba’s dual monetary system at 1 p.m.; Steve Bell will speak about grading paper money at 2 p.m.; and at 3 p.m., Ron Cheek will speak about the numismatic legacy of the Prince of Wales’ 1860 visit to North America.
For more information about the symposium, visit the-ona.ca/2017/ONA_2017
This year, the ONA has introduced new exhibit categories as well as updated rules.
Exhibits will be divided into the following eight categories:
• Canadian Coins and Tokens;
• Canadian Paper Money (including scrip and related paper items);
• Canadian Medals and Decorations (and other numismatic items not media of exchange);
• Non-Canadian Coins and Tokens;
• Non-Canadian Paper Money (including scrip and related paper items);
• Non-Canadian Medals and Decorations (and other numismatic items not media of exchange);
• Junior (for exhibitors aged 16-18); and
• Juvenile (for exhibitors under the age of 16).
For more information about the new exhibit rules, visit the-ona.ca/2017/ONA_Exhibit_Rules_2017.pdf.
In conjunction with the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association, the ONA will also man a “Junior Numismatists” table outside the show’s bourse room. Material is donated by dealers, ONA and RCNA members, and the Royal Canadian Mint. Parents are reminded this table is strictly for juniors with “absolutely no coaching or prompting” allowed. The material will be available at special prices in an attempt to make the hobby more affordable and accessible to young numismatists.
The RCNA’s Coin Kids auction is also slated to return on April 22 at 1 p.m. Space is limited to the first 50 juniors to register for the auction.
For more information about the 55th Annual ONA Convention, visit the-ona.ca.