In-person ONA Convention cancelled, virtual events to fill void

By Jesse Robitaille

For the second consecutive year, the in-person Ontario Numismatic Association (ONA) Convention has been cancelled due to COVID-19.

Last year marked the first convention cancellation in the ONA’s nearly 60-year history. It came in March 2020, about a week after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, leaving little time for organizers to create a contingency plan for the May show. This year, however, organizers are planning for virtual events to take the place of the cancelled convention initially slated for April 9-11.

“It’s not what I would’ve liked, but it’s the best alternative that we can hope for in the atmosphere we find ourselves in,” said ONA President Scott Douglas, who led a combined meeting of the association’s convention and executive committees on Jan. 17.

At the recent meeting, which was also attended by the ONA’s incoming executive – to be installed at the association’s annual general meeting (AGM) in April – officials decided to purchase a Zoom account. It will facilitate the virtual convention, which will likely include club meetings and an educational symposium, tentatively set for April 10-11.

“They’re all experienced with doing presentations on Zoom over the past year, so it’s nothing new for them,” said Douglas, whose term as president will come to an end when the new executive is installed.

A schedule of one-hour virtual club meetings plus four symposium speakers – rolled over from last year’s cancelled convention – will be available soon. Both days are expected to include no more than five hours of programming, something decided on after a survey of ONA members regarding the appropriate length of virtual events, Douglas said.

ONA officials are also expected to host a club delegates meeting, where they will announce the “Club of the Year” winner. At the association’s AGM, Douglas will also announce the literary and presidential award winners, and awards chair Chris Boyer will announce the Award of Merit and Fellow of the ONA honours, which were postponed for 2020.

After April, Douglas will continue acting as the immediate past president of the roughly 260-member, 50-chapter association.

As for the recent election, each executive position has been taken, and the results will be made public at the April AGM. In addition to reworking the annual ONA Convention, the incoming executive is also expected to “revamp” the group’s constitution, Douglas said.

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