By Jesse Robitaille
With just two months until the show opens, collectors are gearing up for the first in-person convention of the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA) since 2019.
For the eighth time in its 72-year history, the RCNA will hold its annual gathering in Ottawa, which played host to past conventions in 2016, 2008, 2000, 1976, 1967, 1958 and 1955. The association was forced to cancel its in-person conventions in both 2020 and 2021, although a virtual event was held last year.
“Planning is going well, but it’s been a real challenge as we’ve come out of the two-year COVID hiatus,” said RCNA President Steve Woodland, who’s also the general chair of the show’s organizing committee. “The real challenge has been finding tours and visits. With Ottawa being a COVID hotspot, people just weren’t ready to commit and say exactly what was going to be available this summer.”
This year’s show has been helped along by the local Ottawa Numismatic Society (ONS), whose officials chose the venue, negotiated the contract and will offer volunteers for the convention weekend.
By April, organizers “finally put everything together,” added Woodland, “and we now have a great list of tours and visits, including evening activities, for the entire week.”
The 2022 RCNA Convention will take place from July 20-24 at the Delta Ottawa City Centre on 101 Lyon St. N., just a block from the Bank of Canada and another short walk to Parliament Hill and the Royal Canadian Mint.
“This is going to be one of the hotel’s first big functions since the pandemic, so they’re excited to make it a successful event,” said Woodland, who added the city’s light-rail transit service now connects to the venue.
“We have a beautiful city, we have lots to show off and we’re very proud of our city. We’re also proud of our numismatic history, which goes back to the 1890s.”
The original “Société numismatique d’Ottawa,” which formed in 1892, became the second money collecting organization in Canada after the “Société Numismatique de Montréal,” which was launched 30 years earlier.
Last year marked the 75th anniversary of the modern ONS, which first gathered in the nation’s capital in 1946.
Ottawa is also where the RCNA’s forerunner, the Canadian Numismatic Association, was launched in 1950.
“We’re a bilingual community, so a lot of what we do at this convention will be offered in both official languages,” said Woodland, who anticipates many attendees from French-speaking Québec.
Registrations opened on May 1 via the RCNA website, rcna.ca, and will be accepted until June 30.
“We understand there are going to be people who are still apprehensive about travelling,” said Woodland. “Even now, returning to the U.S. requires a negative COVID test, so we’ve done our homework and found places in the Ottawa area near the hotel where you can get that done before you go away.”
Exhibit applications, which must be sent to exhibit chair Brett Irick, will also be accepted through June. For full details, visit bit.ly/3M1bor8.
BOURSE, SYMPOSIUM, TOURS & MORE
Following the convention’s opening ceremony on July 22 at 9:45 a.m., the bourse will open to the public with about 70 dealer tables.
Throughout the week, show-goers will also be treated to the RCNA’s annual educational symposium with at least nine speakers; a four-hour coin-grading workshop; a book fair with at least half a dozen authors; plus several club meetings and social tours.
Two Mint tours slated for July 21 – free for all registrants – are expected to pique collectors’ interests.