By Jesse Robitaille
The 89th Convention of The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC) is right around the corner.
Organized by l’Association des numismates et des philatélistes de Boucherville (ANPB) and the Fédération québécoise de philatélie (FQP), the convention will be held May 25-28 at Hôtel Mortagne on 1228 Nobel St. in Boucherville, Que. Admission and parking are free.
Nearly 30 of Canada’s top philatelic dealers will preside over more than 45 tables of material on the bourse, which is being held in the hotel’s Boucherville Room. Canadian Stamp News will be selling magazines as well as philatelic supplies at table six.
The bourse will open to the public at 10 a.m. each day before closing at 5 p.m. on May 26, 27, and 4 p.m. on May 28.
RPSC President George Pepall said this year marks three anniversaries that are relevant to the 2017 Royal Convention: the 350th anniversary of the founding of Boucherville, which is just east of Montreal on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River; the 300th anniversary of the death of Pierre Boucher (1622-1717), who was the settler of Boucherville and governor of New France from 1654-57 and 1662-67; and the 50th anniversary of the ANPB.
“It has drawing power because of the strength of the clubs in Quebec. The FQP is very strong,” said Pepall, who added the FQP is the only provincial philatelic organization in Canada.
“They have provincial government support and an office at the Stade Olympique that allows them to administer the hobby across Quebec. They’re very strong on youth philately, too.”
YEARS IN THE MAKING
Pepall commended the work of late RSPC director Jean Lafontaine, who helped co-ordinate this year’s convention before his death in 2015.
“There’s been so much build up to it,” he said, adding the convention will be a culmination of years of hard work.
“It might not be happening without his contribution, and it started about four years ago when he invited me as president of The Royal to come down and see the facilities and meet the mayor,” said Pepall, of his visit with Lafontaine.
“I had a wonderful visit that I’ll never forget. He was very gracious in hosting me, and I stayed at the show hotel, where we’re going to be: the Hôtel Mortagne. What a wonderful facility it is.”
Pepall described the hotel, which is only 20 minutes from downtown Montréal, as “the ideal location” for a philatelic event.
“There really can’t be anything better in all of Canada. It’s the whole works in one spot that’s very central to a modern and attractive suburban community with its own history.”
Pepall said Boucherville, Que., which is located on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, is “a cross-section of Canada.”
“It’s bilingual, it’s suburban, it’s born in the past but thriving in the present and into the future. There’s no question about that.”
In 2015, Boucherville topped 209 other cities and towns in Canada to win the title of “Canada’s Best Place To Live,” bestowed by MoneySense magazine.
“Boucherville was the dark horse,” MoneySense managing editor Mark Brown told CBC in 2015, adding the small suburban town is Canada’s “best kept secret.”
Pepall said most visitors to Boucherville will pass through Montréal to “take advantage of its cultural offerings.”
“It’s beside the mightiest river in the country, and its beside the largest totally bilingual and cosmopolitan city in the country,” said Pepall, who added Montréal is as culturally rich as Toronto.
Boucherville Mayor Jean Martel said the city is “proud to be hosting such an important event.”
“The convention of the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada will be the crowning event in the celebrations surrounding this important anniversary,” he said, of the ANPB’s 50th anniversary.
“Moreover, it coincides with the celebrations planned by the city for the 350th anniversary of the founding of Boucherville and the 300th anniversary of the death of its founder Pierre Boucher.”
PIERRE BOUCHER (1622-1717)
Pepall said Pierre Boucher as well as the St. Lawrence River add some historical relevance to the upcoming show.
“The presence of that river is almost symbolic of the opening of the country, for which Pierre Boucher deserves a lot of credit. He helped open up the passage with the support of the First Nations people right up into the Great Lakes,” said Pepall. “He laid the groundwork by building good relations with the native people.”
This convention will officially open on May 26 at 9:30 a.m., when organizers will unveil a Picture Postage stamp designed specifically for the show.
Later that day, from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m., The RPSC will host a board meeting followed by an hour-long international liaison meeting. The RPSC International Liaison committee is chaired by Jim Taylor.
An RPSC Fellows meeting will be held from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. followed by an RPSC Foundation meeting from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Later that evening, from 6 to 8 p.m., the President’s Reception will be held.
On May 27, The RPSC will hold its annual general meeting (AGM), where a new book for youth and beginner philatelists, My Treasure Chest, will be unveiled. Published by the FQP, it is an English translation of the French book, Mon coffre au trésor.
Later that day, from 2 to 4 p.m., the FQP will hold its AGM.
Also at 2 p.m., The Quebec Academy of Philatelic Studies will launch a new French-language book, Routes postales et contrats de malle : le transport du courrier au Québec de 1763 à 1851 (or Postal Routes and Trunk Contracts: The Transport of Mail in Québec from 1763 to 1851).
Later that day, from 5 to 6 p.m., an auction will be hosted by the Société d’histoire postale du Québec. For a list of lots, visit royale2017.com/Royale-2017-SHPQ-Encan.pdf.
The RPSC Awards Banquet takes place later that evening from 6 to 10 p.m.