ONA Convention opens today for ‘early bird’ ticket holders, tomorrow to general public

The 55th Annual Convention of the Ontario Numismatic Association (ONA) is coming to the Holiday Inn Kitchener-Waterloo Hotel and Conference Centre this weekend.

The bourse and exhibit floor will be open to the public tomorrow and Sunday—April 22-23—from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and 10 a.m.-4 p.m., respectively. A three-day “early bird” floor pass, which also includes today, is available for $15. Daily admission is $3, although children aged 17 and under are free.

In addition to a bourse with nearly 30 of Canada’s top numismatic dealers (full listing here), the show also features a revamped exhibition.

Visit Canadian Coin News and Coin and Stamp Supplies at Table Nos. 1 and 2 (back left corner of the bourse) this weekend.


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.

Robb McPherson has served as president of the ONA since 2013.


Today, incoming ONA President Scott Douglas will host a free educational symposium featuring three speakers. There is no cost to attend the symposium.

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_2017Education.pdf.


Douglas and incoming First Vice-President Lisa McPherson will both assume their roles tomorrow at the ONA Annual General Meeting. Nominations will also be called from the floor for the position of second vice-president.

“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,” said Douglas, who added this support will soon 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.”

Douglas, who brought the idea of an educational symposium to the ONA Convention in 2015, also said he will focus on education throughout his first two-year term.

“Unfortunately, in North America—and Canada and the U.S., specifically—we emphasize the commercialization of this hobby too much,” he said. “The ONA, in my opinion, wasn’t bringing education to a lot of clubs out there that needed it. 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.”

This year’s medal (Heavy Cameo, Proof-like silver reverse shown) features the Berlin and Waterloo Street Railway Car #10.


The design of the ONA’s 55th Annual Convention medal was chosen by the convention committee. It was submitted by ONA member Judy Blackman and features the Berlin and Waterloo Street Railway Car #10, which was received from the Ottawa Car Company on March 23, 1906. This double-trucked and double-ended 11.7-metre railway car was made of wood and seated 40 people. It cost $6,400 to build and entered service on April 17.

“Having grown up in K-W, I fondly remember trying to get on and off the electric trolleys running up King Street on tracks,” writes Blackman in the November/December 2016 issue of the Ontario Numismatist. “So it feels like we are turning back the clock, and once again we have tracks running up our busy streets.”

The medal’s obverse is based on a photograph showing the railway car at the corner of what was then Foundry Street (later renamed Ontario Street) in Berlin (present-day Kitchener). The medals will be struck by the Mississauga Mint. The silver and brass medals—priced at $60 and $20, respectively—have a mintage of 40 pieces while the copper medal, also priced at $20, has a mintage of 100 pieces. For more information, visit the-ona.ca/2017/2017_ONAMedal.pdf.

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