CAPEX 22 ‘a big deal’ for Canadian philately

By Jesse Robitaille

This is the first story in a two-part series on CAPEX 22, an international exhibition to be held in Toronto in 2022.

When the world’s first one-frame stamp championship comes to Toronto in 2022, it will mark Canada’s first international exhibition in more than a quarter century.

Coming to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) on June 9-12, 2022, CAPEX 22 will be Canada’s fifth international show since 1951. Each of the previous four shows was also held in Toronto, but the major difference with CAPEX 22 is its World One-Frame Stamp Championship—something that’s never been done before.

“It is a big deal,” said David McLaughlin, chair of the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC) international liaison committee, who added single-frame exhibiting “was only introduced about 25 years ago.”

At the previous Capex in 1996, there were no one-frame exhibits. They were only introduced as an experimental class in 2001 by the Fédération Internationale de Philatélie (FIP), which sponsors international exhibitions.

“To go from a standing start to an international exhibition all on its own is significant,” added McLaughlin.

A two-class exhibition, CAPEX 22 will feature 400 single-frame exhibits plus a philatelic literature class. The single-frame exhibits may be from any of the more than 15 recognized FIP classes, including: aerophilately; astrophilately; maximaphily; modern philately; open philately; philatelic literature; picture postcards; postal history; postal stationery; revenue; thematic philately; traditional philately; and youth philately.

The 400 single frames at CAPEX 22 will exceed the number of single-frame exhibits that have competed at all FIP shows since 2016.

“In fact, it’s considerably less; we have 50 per cent more frames than all those other shows combined. Even if London 2020 had gone ahead, we still would have more,” said McLaughlin, of England’s international exhibition that was recently postponed to 2022 due to COVID-19.

While large exhibitions only reserve about three per cent of their total frames for one-frame exhibits, the focus for CAPEX 22 is almost exclusively on single frames. All FIP classes will also be accepted – something that’s seldom seen with single-frame competitions.

“When you have an FIP exhibition – even if you have a one-frame class in it – you can only enter a one-frame exhibit if its parent class is in the exhibition,” said McLaughlin, who added CAPEX “will have every class, including experimental classes, so it gives a broader field for one-frame exhibitors to exhibit.”

“Basically, it’s an opportunity for people who enjoy single frames, for people who are coming into the exhibiting world, to have a venue all to themselves to be able to exhibit internationally.”

Exhibits must first qualify for CAPEX 22 by earning a vermeil medal at a national-level exhibition.

QUALIFY THROUGH 2021

Exhibits need to qualify for CAPEX 22 by earning a vermeil medal – 75 points – at a national-level exhibition within the past five years.

Canadian exhibitors can qualify at either Canadian national-level or U.S. World Series of Philately (WSP) shows, and qualification is open through next year.

While some opportunity for new exhibits has been lost to the COVID-19 pandemic and its ensuing event cancellations, many exhibits are already qualified for CAPEX.

“We have a number of exhibitors that are qualified in Canada, and in the United States, when I looked at the 2017 and 2018 palmares from the WSP shows, there were 200 exhibits and 127 unique exhibitors that were qualified at that time, just in those two years,” said McLaughlin, who’s expecting to see similar numbers from 2019-21.

Looking ahead to the only remaining WSP show in Canada this year, Canpex is slated for Oct. 31-Nov. 1 in London, Ont.—if things go as planned.

The country’s first four WSP shows – the Edmonton “Spring National,” Orapex, the annual Royal Convention and the Postal History Society of Canada Symposium – were all cancelled due to the pandemic.

In the United States, which McLaughlin said is the “biggest market” for single-frame exhibits, the Great American Stamp Show is still planned for Connecticut on Aug. 20-23, and the combined Chicagopex/AmeriStamp Expo, which includes the Single-Frame Champion of Champions competition, is in Illinois on Nov. 20-22.

“In the United States, there’ll be a lot of shows in 2021 as well, so I don’t think there’s a problem there,” added McLaughlin, who’s also an RPSC director and nationally accredited judge.

‘EXCELLENT LOCATION’

The Constitution Hall at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre North Building (shown) will hold the world’s first Single-Frame Stamp Championship plus a 65-dealer bourse at Capex 22 in June 2022.

The MTCC’s 28,000-square-foot Constitution Hall will hold the exhibits as well as the 65-booth bourse.

“We’ve chosen a facility that allows us to have our exhibit centre and bourse area in one secure room,” said McLaughlin, who added more rooms are booked for seminars, meetings, receptions and other events. “We’re going to give the opportunity to other societies to host their annual general meetings, functions, receptions or whatever they want to do.”

CAPEX 22 will be the third international philatelic exhibition held at the MTCC, which also played host to Capex in 1996 and 1987, “and people loved the location,” he added.

“The Convention Centre downtown is a great, great location right in the heart of the entertainment district and just steps away from the CN Tower, Rogers Centre, Hockey Hall of Fame and many other attractions.”

The first two CAPEX shows – in 1951 and 1978 – were held at the Automotive Building (now Beanfield Centre) at Exhibition Place.

“Especially ’78, ’87 and ’96, they’re very fondly remembered by collectors and exhibitors here in Canada and worldwide as well,” said McLaughlin, who added two world junior exhibitions were also held in Toronto and Montreal in 1982 and 1992, respectively.

“I think the two youth shows were very well received, and a lot of those collectors – the ones that have continued to collect – are in their mid-40s and mid-50s now, and I think there is some desire from people to come back to Toronto and see what it’s like now compared to what it was 30 and 40 years ago.”

The series’ second and final story will highlight Toronto as a ‘philatelic destination city’ plus the CAPEX 22 bourse, organizing committee and more.

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