CAPEX plans a sight for sore eyes after countless coronavirus cancellations

By Jesse Robitaille

As provincial and territorial governments across Canada begin planning to reopen their parts of the country, everyone is undoubtedly eager to return to some semblance of a normal life.

As I write this, it’s been about 14 weeks since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a “public health emergency of international concern.” Little did we know – at least here in Canada – that our entire world would soon be thrown upside down at the hands of a novel coronavirus, which grew to pandemic proportions by mid-March.

After a couple of months of strict social distancing, non-essential business closures and restricted travel, I think we’re all hopeful about our country’s patchwork plan to reopen (even if it’s going to roll out gradually, in various stages, over the coming months).

While the next few weeks remain shrouded in uncertainty, the pandemic has already caused headaches for show organizers, who were forced to cancel three of Canada’s five national-level exhibitions this year in a bid to “flatten the curve.”

After the recent cancellation of the Postal History Society of Canada Symposium, only one of these “World Series of Philately” shows remain on the docket: Canpex is still slated for this fall in London, Ont.

But it’s not all bad news; for philatelists, there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel.

As you’ll read in the latest issue of CSN (“CAPEX 22 ‘a big deal’ for Canadian philately,” Vol. 45 #3), a major international exhibition is in the works for June 2022. If all goes to plan, we’ll be heading to Toronto’s entertainment district on June 9-12, 2022, for Canada’s first international philatelic exhibition in 26 years.

I hope I’m right in believing two years should suffice for a return to normal (or at least a “new normal”) because Capex 22 will be “a big deal,” in the words of one organizer, David McLaughlin.

I never thought I’d be yearning for a return to Toronto’s rush-hour traffic and chaotic congestion; but here we are, two months into a nationwide shutdown that has seen nearly 40 Canadian stamp shows cancelled, and I’m chomping at the bit to drive down the 401 for our country’s biggest philatelic extravaganza since 1996.

While there’s understandable excitement about Capex 22 being the world’s first One-Frame Stamp Championship, I think it’s safe to say our collecting community is most excited to reconnect with their friends in the philatelic world.

As we’ve heard time and time again – and as we’ve seen with the countless online meetings, seminars and shows held throughout the pandemic – camaraderie is what collectors value most about their hobby.

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