BNAPS remembers long-time member Bill Topping

Long-time member of the British North America Philatelic Society (BNAPS) William Ellis Topping died peacefully on Oct. 21 according to a memorial published by the society.

Born in Everett, Wa., on Jan. 18, 1928, Topping relocated to Vancouver, B.C., at the age of four. He’s predeceased by his wife, Marion, as well as his daughter, Patricia. He’s survived by his sons, John and Robert, granddaughters Elizabeth and Rebecca, and many nieces and nephews across Canada and the U.S.

“Bill paralleled a long career as a teacher in Vancouver and area high schools with equally dedicated study of and writing on the postal history of Western Canada. For many years, he and Marion led summer tours to China for students and other interested travelers. He also enjoyed researching genealogy and was an avid bird watcher,” reads the BNAPS memorial.


In addition to BNAPS, Topping was also a long-time member of The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC) and the Canadian Philatelic Society of Great Britain (CPSGB). He is a Fellow of the RPSC (1999) and served as president of the CPSGB in 2004-05. Locally, Topping was active in the British Columbia Philatelic Society as well as BNAPS’ Pacific Northwest Regional Group.

“Bill joined BNAPS in 1952 and was an Emeritus member. He served as Chairman of BNAPEX 1969 in Vancouver and as a member of the Jury at BNAPEX 2001 in Ottawa. He attended and exhibited at many BNAPS conventions, and served as Chairman/Editor for the British Colombia Postal History Study Group of BNAPS from its inception.”


Topping is fondly remembered for forming and exhibiting an award-winning collection of Canadian semi-official airmails. He also authored Yukon Airways and Exploration Company Limited: A Pioneer Air Mail Company as well as the 14-page introduction of the three editions of Canada Inkjet (Jet Spray) Cancels 1992-2002/5.

“Perhaps his best known works are the separate checklists, prepared and published with William G. Robinson, of the post offices of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and the early Territories of the west. Bill published a comprehensive listing of all western Canada post offices in operation from 1990 to 2006 in four booklets, one each for Alberta, British Colombia, Manitoba including Northern Canada, and Saskatchewan. In 2007, Bill received the BNAPS Order of the Beaver Lifetime Achievement Award,” reads the memorial.

“Bill’s contributions to the study of western Canada Postal History are invaluable. His dedication will be missed.”

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