The 54th annual ORAPEX (Ottawa RA Centre Philatelic Exhibition) opens today at 10 a.m., celebrating the 100th anniversary of the completion of the Canadian Northern Railway with honoree Gray Scrimgeour, of Victoria, B.C.
Scrimgeour has been studying western Canadian postal history for 45 years, specializing in trans-Pacific steamship mail and early Vancouver mail. He has written many articles, mostly for the Postal History Society of Canada (PHSC), about his philatelic research and edits a newsletter on northern Canadian mail.
Today at 1 p.m., Scrimgeour will speak about Canada’s trans-Pacific steamship mail at the PHSC’s annual general meeting. On Sunday at 8 a.m., he will speak at the Philatelic Specialists Society of Canada (PSSC) members’ breakfast about early Victoria, B.C.-California mail.
This year’s show – held at the RA Centre on 2451 Riverside Dr. in Ottawa – opens at 10 a.m. on both days, running until 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 2 and 4 p.m. on May 3. Parking and admission are both free of charge.
“We are especially proud of the range of meetings and study group sessions that happen because they help to support organized, social philately and they provide an opportunity to continue learning about the hobby and its many specialties,” said event chair Peter MacDonald.
Today at noon, the British North America Philatelic Society (BNAPS) holds its biannual Christmas study group and show-and-tell session. Then at 1 p.m., the Académie Québécoise de Philatélie (Quebec Academy of Philately) and the PHSC both host meetings, followed by the St. Lawrence Seaway Regional Group biannual meeting at 3 p.m. The show closes at 6 p.m., followed by the awards reception at 6:30 p.m.
Tomorrow morning, after the PSSC breakfast, the show opens at 10 a.m., followed by the exhibit judges’ feedback session at 10:30 a.m. The Squared Circles Study Group annual meeting is at noon, and the Canadian Aerophilatelic Society hosts its annual meeting at 1 p.m. The American Association of Philatelic Exhibitors hosts its annual advice session at 2 p.m., and then at 3 p.m., guests are invited to meet the exhibitors during the show’s final hour; the final half hour will see BNAPS’ Pre-Cancel Study Group host an organizational meeting, which everyone is invited to join.
What’s more, with 150-plus competitive exhibit frames and dozens of dealers on the bourse floor, ORAPEX 2015 offers something for every philatelist – whether young, old, expert or beginner.
“ORAPEX 2015 is significant simply because it exists and continues to serve the needs and desires of the philatelic community: stamp and postcard collectors, postal historians, dealers, exhibitors and the curious alike,” explained MacDonald. “There are only a few national-level shows left in Canada, and over the years, ORAPEX has become an important gathering place for the community from across Canada and the United States.”
Each year, ORAPEX is organized by volunteers from the Recreation Association (RA) Stamp Club, the Amicale des philatélistes de l’Outaouais (the Association of Ottawa Philatelists) and the Ottawa Philatelic Society. Its exhibition is also part of the American Philatelic Society’s (APS) World Series of Philately since the APS granted approval to Canadian national-level shows in 2010.
“The World Series of Philately is an agreement the RPSC has with the APS where – just like other World Series shows in the U.S. – the person who receives the Grand Award wins the chance to enter their exhibit in the World Series of Philately show hosted by the APS every summer in August,” explained John Sheffield, a director with the Canadian Stamp Dealers’ Association.
This year’s panel of judges includes David Piercy, chief judge, of Edmonton, Alta.; Duncan Barber, of Deep River, Ont.; George Constantourakis, of Montréal, Que.; Rob Lunn, of Nasonworth, N.B.; Bill Schultz, of Westchester, Penn.; and Robert Pinet, an apprentice judge from Ottawa.
The winner of ORAPEX’s multi-frame Grand Award will be invited to the APS StampShow Champion of Champions event, scheduled for Aug. 20-23 in Grand Rapids, Mich. The winner of the single-frame Grand Award will be invited to the winter APS AmeriStamp Expo Champion of Champions event for single-frame entries, scheduled for Jan. 29-31 in Atlanta, Geo.
“We are looking forward to welcoming a couple of thousand people to the show this weekend,” said MacDonald, “and we’re especially keen to see the youth booth swarmed by those who will be the future of this great activity.”