Extensive tours highlight Canada’s only five-day show

The Postal History Society of Canada (PHSC) Symposium is returning to Hamilton for the second year in a row this week for what’s being called “Canada’s philatelic event of the summer.”

With a combination of postal history presentations and historical tours complementing the 15-dealer bourse and national-level competitive exhibition, the five-day event is big on camaraderie. Running from July 18-22, the symposium will feature off-site tours and presentations for the first three days while the final two days will see the bourse and exhibition open to the public at the Hamilton Sheraton Hotel on 116 King St. W.

“This year, we have different venues, and more venues to accommodate spouses. We’ve actually added a full day and a half of touring, so now it’s the country’s only five-day philatelic show,” said symposium chair David Hobden, who added the annual show provides an “excellent opportunity” for postal historians to explore their mutual interests together.

Some spouse-friendly events include Thursday’s tour of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Southbrook Vineyards and Friday’s tour of Burlington’s Royal Botanical Gardens, the latter of which will include presentations by esteemed philatelic judge Charles Verge as well as Joe Trauzzi, vice-president (liason) of the Grand River Valley Philatelic Association.

“It’s an opportunity for fellowship,” said symposium Vice-Chair Bill Longley. “People can come two days ahead of time, visit historic sites and see great speakers, and then add on a two-day show with a bourse, exhibition, continued speakers and events.”

The presentations – nearly 10 in total – will be led by members of the PHSC while the bourse will be filled with dealers from across the country.

“There will be new dealers this year, so people will have different stock to look through,” said Longley, who added attending dealers will be tailoring their stock for postal history collectors.

This year’s awards ceremony will be held in the historic pump house of the Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology.


This year’s exhibition weighs in at more than 100 frames, and space was still available as of the last week in May.

“Of course, the draw or emphasis is postal history,” said Hobden. “If you have a postal history exhibit you’d like to show, this is the place to do it.”

In addition to handing out awards for the top single-frame exhibit and top multi-frame exhibit, this year’s exhibition will also award the best exhibit of two, three or four frames.

“For someone who has an exhibit under development or has a collection that’s smaller in nature, this is an excellent opportunity to show it,” Hobden said, adding this year’s awards ceremony will be held in the historic pump house of the Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology.

Another symposium highlight is the “Travelling Postal Museum” produced by long-time philatelist and award-winning exhibitor Grégoire Teyssier, of Québec.

“At a time when our Canadian Postal Museum is no longer there, I hope that this small exhibition will allow the general public and specialists to get closer to our postal heritage,” said Teyssier, who won the Horace Harrison Grand Award at BNAPEX 2016 in Fredericton, N.B., for his exhibit, “Quebec 1763-1867: Un Siècle d’Histoire Postale et de Marcophilie.”

Teyssier first brought his “small, unpretentious” museum to the Lakeshore Stamp Club exhibition in Québec this March and then to Orapex in Ottawa this May. He will be displaying his array of postal historical artifacts the PHSC Symposium this July, but the museum is set to grow even bigger next year.

“In the years going forward, Greg will go from being the sole exhibitor to the curator of an ongoing, three-dimensional display class exhibit,” said Hobden. “Other individuals can bring in other artifacts for exhibition, and the reason we’ll do that is all of us collect one or two three-dimensional items; we predominantly collect paper, but we also collect post office artifacts, and this is an opportunity for us to get together and discuss, research and study these things.”


Yesterday, on the first of five days of events, the symposium hosted a walking tour of postal history sites in downtown Toronto.

Led by Kathy Hartley, the librarian of the Harry Sutherland Philatelic Library (HSPL), “A Day of Exploration: Toronto’s Living Postal History” included visits to Toronto’s First Post Office, the Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Foundation and HSPL as well as guest attendance at the evening meeting of the Philatelic Specialists Society of Canada (PSSC).

Tomorrow, a regional meeting of the Royal Philatelic Society London (RPSL) will be held at the Sheraton. The meeting will feature a presentation and is open to everyone to attend.

On July 21, the PSSC will host a breakfast meeting featuring a postal history presentation by Dr. Ijaz A. Qureshi. Admission to this event is limited to PSSC members, and tickets must be purchased in advance.

“Last year was a great event that earned high social praise, and we expect to have even more attendance this year,” said Longley.

For more information, visit postalhistorycanada.net/php/Symposium.



  • 9:30 a.m.: Coach departs Sheraton for Hamilton Military Museum (HMM)
  • 11 a.m.: Coach departs HMM for Southbrook Vineyards tour and catered lunch
  • 2 p.m.: Coach departs vineyard for Fort George/Navy Hall
  • 2:15 p.m.: Coach arrives at Fort George/Navy Hall
  • 3 p.m.: Presentation at Navy Hall by Jacques Poitras
  • 4 p.m.: Tour of Fort George/Navy Hall
  • 5 p.m.: Presentation at Navy Hall by Victor Wilson, “Uses of the Leaf and Numeral Issues – 1897-1903”
  • 6 p.m.: Cocktails at Navy Hall
  • 6:30 p.m.: Catered dinner at Navy Hall
  • 8 p.m.: Presentation at Navy Hall, “History of the Niagara Area”
  • 9 p.m.: Coach departs for Sheraton


  • 9:30 a.m.: Presentation at Sheraton by Tom Watkins, “Commercial Uses of Semi-Official Air Mails”
  • 11:30 a.m.: Carpool to Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG)
  • Noon: Catered luncheon at RBG
  • 1 p.m.: Presentation at RBG by Joe Trauzzi, “Royal Train”
  • 2 p.m.: Tour of RBG
  • 3:30 p.m.: Presentation at RBG by Charles Verge, “Brown’s Nurseries”
  • 4:45 p.m.: Carpool returns to Sheraton
  • 5 p.m.: Royal Philatelic Society London (RPSL) meeting at Sheraton
  • 5:30 p.m. Bourse and exhibition setup
  • 5 p.m.: RPSL regional meeting


  • 8 a.m.: Philatelic Specialists Society of Canada breakfast (advanced tickets required) with presentation by Dr. Ijaz A. Qureshi
  • 10 a.m.: Exhibition and bourse opens
  • 11:30 a.m.: Breakout session
  • 1:30 p.m.: Presentation at Sheraton by Cimon Morin, “Postal Service in Québec, 1763-1851 – Various Stages of Research”
  • 2:30 p.m.: Breakout session
  • 3:30 p.m.: Presentation at Sheraton by Brian Copland, “CPR on the Prairies”
  • 5 p.m.: Exhibition and bourse closes
  • 5 p.m.: Carpool to Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology
  • 6:30 p.m.: Awards ceremony
  • 11 p.m.: Carpool returns to Sheraton


  • 8:30 a.m.: PHSC annual general meeting
  • 9:30 a.m.: Judges’ feedback session
  • 10 a.m.: Exhibition and bourse opens
  • Noon: Breakout session by David Hobden and Rob Leigh, “County and Regional Collecting”
  • 1:30 p.m.: Presentation at Sheraton by David Piercey, “Interesting and Uncommon Aspects of Early Newfoundland Postal History”
  • 5 p.m.: Exhibition and bourse closes

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