By Jesse Robitaille
The 54th annual Ontario Numismatic Association (ONA) Convention is set to take place this weekend (April 8-10) in Kitchener, Ont.
Organizers, who are hopeful attendance will reach into the thousands this year, said the convention is being hosted by the Waterloo Coin Society (WCS) and held at the Kitchener-Waterloo Holiday Inn. It marks the eighth ONA Convention – including the first held in 1962 – to be hosted in Kitchener, which recently held back-to-back conventions in 2012 and 2013. It’s also the seventh time the WCS has acted as host club for the convention.
ONA President Robb McPherson echoed last year’s sentiments about the association’s annual gathering and its place in the hobby.
“All the local shows are more local-oriented, but we bring everyone from Ontario – and of course some come from beyond that – to our convention. It’s everyone together, sort of on equal ground,” said McPherson, who added several specialty groups, including the Canadian Tire Coupon Collectors’ Club; the Canadian Paper Money Society; the Canadian Association of Token Collectors; the Canadian Association of Wooden Money Collectors; and the Canadian Centennial Collector’s Club, will be meeting over the weekend.
“Of course, the large bourse and exhibit area will be running with something for every collector,” he added.
Unfortunately, McPherson said, there would be no auction at this year’s convention because of the hobby’s busy spring schedule.
“With so many other auctions being held within a month of the convention, we were not able to secure one for the convention,” he said, adding the extra space would be used to hold the educational symposiums.
“Scott Douglas has put together another fine group of speakers for these symposiums, which will be held on Friday, April 8 in the Michigan Room of the hotel.”
Douglas, who’s the convention’s education chair, said the speakers include three knowledgeable numismatists: Judy Blackman, who’s speaking about hand-painted and enamel coins and tokens (dated 1800-1920) at 1 p.m.; Jeff Fournier, who’s speaking about collecting Canadian Centennial tokens and medals at 2 p.m.; and Reverend Angus Sutherland, who’s speaking about the history and use of communion tokens at 3 p.m.
“The ONA educational symposium affords the collector an opportunity to gain insight into how other collectors collect and the knowledge that can be gained from a presenter’s understanding and experience in a specific area of numismatics,” said Douglas. “The symposium becomes a world of discovery for the listener. As the saying goes, knowledge is power.”
SATURDAY & SUNDAY
The convention’s bourse floor will hold more than 50 dealer tables and opens at 8 a.m. for registrants and dealers and 10 a.m. for the general public. It closes at 5 p.m. on Saturday and 4 p.m. on Sunday.
General admission is $3 a day; however, there are package deals available, including a registration kit that provides a weekend pass to the bourse floor and a copper convention medal. Registrants will also “get the VIP treatment” with an exclusive bourse preview and welcome reception on Friday.
McPherson said other convention highlights include the RCNA Coin Kids auction, which will be held Saturday at 1 p.m., and the annual awards banquet, which will be held later that evening and includes a full-course buffet dinner, keynote speaker and several door prizes. Tickets for the awards banquet cost $55.
“Our keynote speaker will be Walter Ostromecki Jr., past president of the American Numismatic Association and current board member,” said McPherson. “A well-known numismatist and speaker, it will be one not to be missed.”
Organizers will also dish out three prestigious ONA awards – the Bruce H. Raszmann Award; the Award of Merit; and the Fellow of the ONA Award – in addition to a slew of exhibit awards and volunteer medals.
Main ($30), spousal ($15) and “Young Numismatist” ($5) registration kits, as well as 2016 convention medals, are limited and anticipated to sell out in advance of the March 21 registration deadline. All main registrations received on or before Feb. 29 will be entered to win a Lighthouse $20-for-$20 silver coin presentation box donated by Trajan Media.
This year’s themed convention medal, which was struck by the Mississauga Mint and designed by ONA member Thomas Sanders, features the Victoria Park Clock Tower on one side and the ONA crest on the opposite.
“I like the design as it fit nicely on the medal and many collectors will like to see a part of Kitchener’s history,” said McPherson, who added the clock tower is also prominently featured on Kitchener’s official logo. “For nearly 50 years, the tower was the focal point of the beloved Renaissance Revival style city hall, which was demolished amid great controversy in 1973. Thankfully, there were enough foresighted individuals to have the clock tower carefully dismantled and preserved for future generations. As one of Kitchener’s most recognizable landmarks, it now stands watch at the entrance to Victoria Park.”
What’s more, this marks the first time the Victoria Park Clock Tower has been commemorated on an ONA or WCS medal; however, McPherson added: “A Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest trade dollar was issued in 1996 to celebrate the reconstruction and formal dedication on July 1, 1995 of the Heritage Clock Tower – as it was then known – in its permanent home, ending many years of discussion and debate. And previously, in 1972, banquet medals were struck for the WCS that featured the former Kitchener City Hall, built in 1924.”
This year, organizers struck a total of 180 convention medals, including 40 silver ($60 each) and brass ($20 each) and 100 copper ($20 each).
For more information, visit www.the-ona.ca/con2016.php as well watch for updates on www.canadiancoinnews.com.