By Jesse Robitaille
The ribbon has been cut, and with that, the 62nd annual convention of the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA) is underway in Halifax, N.S.
At 10 a.m., convention organizers welcomed a roomful of attendees at the event’s opening ceremony, held in the Commonwealth Ballroom of the Westin Nova Scotian Hotel. Open until this Sunday, the convention – dubbed “Canada’s money collector show” – promises to be the Canadian numismatic event of the year.
Incoming RCNA President Henry Nienhuis began the ceremony by welcoming everyone to Canada’s east coast and the capital of Nova Scotia.
Alongside Nienhuis was convention chair Wayne Taylor, who’s a member of the Halifax Regional Coin Club, this year’s host club.
“Thank you all for coming to Nova Scotia,” said Taylor. “I hope you enjoy what you see inside, and a good Maritime welcome to you.”
This year’s honorary convention chairs, Pat and Bunny Turner, were also at the ceremony. They are active in the Nova Scotia chapter of the Canadian Tire Coupon Collectors Club, which is hosting its meeting on Saturday at 3 p.m., and said they appreciate the opportunity to relate some of their history with the RCNA.
Nienhuis said the Turners have been long-time members of the RCNA and contributed quite significantly over the years. In fact, Pat was first vice-president throughout the 1960s and ’70s.
“Pat has just turned 92,” said Nienhuis, to loud applause, “and Bunny just told me she’s 87.”
“We keep going,” said Bunny.
“Just like the RCNA,” added Nienhuis.
Also in attendance was Kirk MacRae, Royal Canadian Mint director for the Atlantic region and “proud Nova Scotian.”
“It’s great to have your annual convention in Atlantic Canada, certainly in this great city of Halifax and this great province of Nova Scotia. It’s a real honour for me to be here, representing the Royal Canadian Mint at the official opening of the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association’s 2015 Convention,” said MacRae. “The Royal Canadian Mint is proud to be doing its part to promote the enjoyment of coins and we applaud the efforts of the RCNA to share the wonderful world of numismatics through education and through its annual event.”
MacRae is also joined by a team of Mint employees, who are showcasing the Crown corporation’s latest products at the convention.
“We look forward to showing our latest creations at our booth, and we welcome you all to stop by to browse some products and share your passion for coin collecting,” said MacRae. “It’s a beautiful day today, and hopefully the weather will hold up all weekend. It’s great weather in Nova Scotia in July – sunny and hot usually – so thank you all for coming.”
Sandra Hanington, president and CEO of the Mint, did not attend; however, she sent her well wishes via a press release.
“This historic city is an ideal setting for celebrating the best of Canadian numismatics,” she wrote. “I wish you all a successful convention and I look forward to seeing you in Ottawa in 2016.”
Lastly, Walter Ostromecki, president of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) since July 2013, welcomed attendees on behalf of his organization and thanked the RCNA for inviting him to attend.
“We’re in a hobby; we’re in a community. As past-president of the ANA Cliff Mishler would say, it knows no bounds,” said Ostromecki. “We can collect, we can enjoy, and I want to bring the greetings of our 35,000 ANA members to you today. Have a great show, and thank you for allowing me to be here and participate. I am deeply honoured.”