In-person stamp shows survive, set to return this summer in Canada

By Jesse Robitaille

As Canada’s COVID-19 caseload continues its downward trend, and with more than 35 per cent of the country’s population fully vaccinated, stamp collectors are eying a return to the bourse later this summer.

As of July 9, more than 25.8 million Canadian adults (67.9 per cent of the population) have received at least one shot of an approved COVID-19 vaccine. More than 13.6 million adults (27.5 per cent) are also fully vaccinated.

A few days later, on July 12, Canada reported a seven-day average of 496 new cases, down from a high of 6,730 on April 17. On July 12, health officials across the country reported only 277 new cases, including 114 in Ontario, 52 in Québec and 30 in Alberta, where the majority of the in-person stamp shows still slated for this summer and fall will take place.

“Our immunization strategy is working really, really well,” Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, said at a July 9 news conference. “I didn’t see any reason to hold us back.”

While Ontario was originally scheduled to move to the third step of its re-opening plan on July 21, provincial health officials decided it was safe to make that move on July 16, five days early.

Of interest to collectors, the third phase permits larger indoor and outdoor gatherings, including up to 25 people inside and up to 100 outside, for the first time since March 2020.

The latest re-opening step follows a year-and-a-half span in which all of Canada’s national-level exhibitions – across both 2020 and 2021 – were cancelled.

Once the Edmonton Spring National Stamp Show, the usual spring-time harbinger of Canada’s national-level exhibitions, is held in early 2022, it will have been nearly 30 months since the previous national-level show, Canpex, took place in October 2019.

Countless other local and regional stamp shows also fell victim to the pandemic in that time, with collectors, dealers, auctioneers and show organizers forced to move into the virtual realm (“Philately embracing ‘virtual’ gatherings,” CSN Vol. 45 #19).

“COVID has given people the time to deal with the stamp collection hidden in the attic,” said long-time dealer and auctioneer Bill Longley, the owner of Waterdown, Ont.’s Longley Auctions. “Dealers are loaded up with material and have been pricing for one and a half years. The first show back will be one of the best shows ever. Pent-up demand coupled with huge, fresh stocks will make it a show to remember.”

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