RCNA educational symposium offering wide range of topics

By Jesse Robitaille

A staple of the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA) Convention will make a comeback this July as the in-person gathering returns to Ottawa following a two-year pandemic hiatus.

With 12 presentations over two days, the RCNA’s 2022 educational symposium is expected to regain its pre-pandemic form at the upcoming convention, slated for July 20-24 (“RCNA Convention returns this summer in Ottawa,” CCN Vol. 60 #5, June 7, 2022). It comes after a scaled-down online symposium at last year’s virtual RCNA Convention and an outright cancellation in 2020 – all due to COVID-19.

“I think it’s going to be great to have the whole convention back in person, and the educational symposium is a big part of it,” said RCNA Convention Committee Chair James Williston, of Calgary, Alta. “They’re always well attended, they’re always interesting, and everyone learns a lot about all the different subjects being presented.”

The first in-person RCNA symposium since the association’s 2019 convention, it will feature four presentations on July 20 plus another eight presentations on the following day. The speakers, coming from across Canada and the United States, include many award-winning numismatists, two curators from the Bank of Canada Museum, a pair of Royal Canadian Mint officials, a retired senior engraver plus a former foreign diplomat.

“The symposium gives people an opportunity to learn and expand their knowledge of numismatics,” said Williston, who also chairs the RCNA’s exhibits committee. “I know I always enjoy learning about the different segments of numismatics even if I don’t collect in those fields. Learning about history, geography and economics of the past has always been a big part of numismatic studies, and by attending these educational events, a person has the perfect chance to do just that.”

In the weeks and days leading up to the show in Ottawa, the RCNA will also host seven virtual presentations – open to the public – with speakers from both Canada and south of the border.

“We’re using these virtual presentations to pique people’s interest in attending the convention and boost awareness of the RCNA and what benefits it can provide for people,” said Williston.


While the numismatic community was “a little apprehensive” towards virtual events in the pandemic’s early days, Williston has seen more collectors, dealers, auctioneers, clubs and other groups embrace digital technology as of late.

“Society as a whole is lucky that we were able to use Zoom and other things to keep everything flowing to some degree,” said Williston, an RCNA Fellow and honorary life member of his local Calgary Numismatic Society.

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