National-level show Orapex open today, tomorrow

By Jesse Robitaille

Orapex, one of Canada’s few national-level philatelic shows, returns to the nation’s capital today and tomorrow.

Event chair Michael Powell said this weekend’s show, which opens at 10 a.m. both days, offers a myriad of opportunities for collectors as well as entertainment for non-collectors. This year’s theme is aerophilately, and long-time philatelist Chris Hargreaves, of Kingston, Ont., will be honoured for his significant contributions to aerophilately.

“For collectors, it’s an excellent opportunity to see exhibits, make contacts with dealers, and add to their collections,” said Powell, who’s also the show’s bourse chair. “For the non-collecting public, the exhibits can also be very interesting, and we’ll have a lot related to aerophilately. The Canada Aviation and Space Museum will also be putting on a display at the show.”

Orapex is one of only a handful of national-level accredited shows (see “Accredited Show”) hosted in Canada each year: the Edmonton Spring National Stamp Show (April 2-3, 2016); the Royale (Aug. 19-21, 2016) in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont.; Novapex (Sept. 16-18, 2016) in Dartmouth, N.S.; and the new Canadian National Philatelic Exhibition in London, Ont. this October.

The bourse was bustling when the doors opened at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

The bourse was bustling when the doors opened at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

Powell said Orapex has grown, “especially among the Ottawa region,” a considerable amount in the past few years, and for good reason.

“It’s a natural for this area,” he said. “It’s appealing to the masses. Dealers come here because they have the customers here; there’s a concentration of people interested in postal history.”

The annual show is being held at the RA Centre on 2451 Riverside Dr. in Ottawa, Ont.. Doors open at 10 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. on April 30 and 4 p.m. the following day. Parking and admission are both free of charge.


Orapex has a long tradition of strong exhibiting from collectors around the world, and this year’s “incredible” showing promises to build on that, Powell said.

“We decided to change the way we do the show’s theme,” he said, adding previous shows had suffered from “narrow subjects and little lead-up time.”

In a first for Orapex – a well-known event among aerophilatelic exhibitors and dealers alike – this year’s theme was announced at last year’s event.

“Last year, we decided to go with aerophilately and enlisted the help of the CAS [Canadian Aerophilatelic Society], and they got behind it in a big way by promoting it amongst their members,” said Powell. “In the past, we’d be lucky to have two or three exhibits on the theme.”

This year, however, there are about 10 aerophilatelic exhibits spanning nearly 40 frames, which accounts for nearly one-third of all exhibits.

“The exhibits this year are incredible,” said Powell, adding organizers were forced to reject some entries. “We ran into a problem that we had too many. That’s something shows just don’t experience these days.”


This year’s panel of exhibit judges includes Chief Judge and Chair of the Jury Sam Chiu, of Toronto, Ont.; Dick Malott, of Ottawa, Ont.; Rodney Paige, of Thorold, Ont.; Robert Anderson, of Brantford, Ont.; Rob McGuinness, of Vancouver, B.C.; and apprentice Alain Benitah, of Lachine, Que.

For a full listing of exhibits at this year’s show, visit


The Ottawa RA Centre Philatelic Exhibition (Orapex) is hosting its 55th gathering since being founded in 1961. Organized by volunteers from the RA Stamp Club; the Amicale des philatélistes de l’Outaouais; and the Ottawa Philatelic Society, among others, Orapex is one of only a few national-level stamp shows held annually in Canada. It has been a part of the American Philatelic Society’s (APS) World Series of Philately since 2010, when Canadian national-level shows were first granted approval.

“The World Series of Philately is an agreement the RPSC [Royal Philatelic Society of Canada] 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, former director with the Canadian Stamp Dealers’ Association.

The winner of the multi-frame Grand Award at this year’s Orapex will be invited to exhibit at the APS StampShow this Aug. 4-7 in Portland, Ore. The winner of the single-frame Grand Award will be invited to the APS AmeriStamp Expo, scheduled for March 3-5, 2017 in Reno, N.V.

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