Following record flooding, 58th annual Orapex set to open this weekend in Ottawa

Despite widespread flooding across the region, philatelists are set to return to the nation’s capital this weekend for the Ottawa RA Centre Philatelic Exhibition, commonly referred to as Orapex.

The May 4-5 show will mark the 58th consecutive gathering since it was founded in 1961. Organizers with the RA Stamp Club; the Amicale des philatélistes de l’Outaouais; and the Ottawa Philatelic Society (OPS) have confirmed the recent flooding, which saw 600 Canadian Armed Forces troops deployed in Ottawa, will “have zero impact on Orapex.”

“The Rideau River in front of the RA Centre peaked about 10 or so days ago an is now receding,” said Doug Lingard, who’s a member of the Orapex 2019 organizing committee, on May 1.

“There are no road closures around the RA Centre, unless for normal construction.”

The Ottawa River, which is near Parliament Hill and divides the nation’s capital from Gatineau, Qué., is “a totally different story,” Lingard said, adding water levels were expected to peak yesterday.

“It has caused significant flooding up and down the river in both Ontario and Québec; however, it is several miles from the RA Centre and will again have zero impact on the show.”

This morning, CBC News reported water levels “are stabilizing in Ottawa-Gatineau and have peaked between Pembroke and the capital.”

“Revised forecasts have pushed the expected peak in Ottawa-Gatineau to Friday, which will put Britannia’s berm to the test,” reads the CBC report. “The predicted peaks for downtown are also now slightly lower than before, but still higher than the 2017 flood. About 300 homes in the Constance Bay neighbourhood were evacuated Tuesday night and the city’s fire chief is saying two recent fires underscore the need to leave those areas. Although the waters are still high, the city is not currently expecting to expand the evacuation zone.”

Nearly 6,500 homes have been flooded in – and more than 9,500 people evacuated from – Québec, and 2,000 troops have been deployed to flood zones, half of which are in Québec.

ELIZABETHAN-ERA PHILATELY

This year, Orapex is recognizing “Elizabethan-Era Philately” as the show theme.

“It’s something we wanted to promote, and it’s about time; Elizabethan philately covers about 30 per cent of the entire period of stamp collecting,” said OPS past president Michael Powell, who has served as the show’s chair since 2016. “It’s a significant area that’s been underrepresented.”

Nearly 10 of this year’s competitive exhibits will be Elizabethan themed.

“If you get five or six exhibits on the theme, that’s pretty good, so we’re pleased with that,” Powell said.

The popular national-level exhibition is one of five taking place in Canada this year as part of the American Philatelic Society’s “World Series of Philately.”

Other World Series of Philately shows held in Canada this year include:

  • the Edmonton Spring National Stamp Show on March 23-24;
  • the annual convention of The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada in Mississauga on June 21-23;
  • Vanpex in Vancouver on Sept. 27-29, when the three-day annual show will return to national-level status after a 12-year hiatus as a regional show; and
  • Canpex in London, Ont., on Oct. 19-20.

This year’s panel of judges includes chair Joel Weiner, of Edmonton; Robert Pinet, of Toronto; John Wilson, of Toronto; Bill Schultz, of West Chester, Pa.; and Steve Johnson, an apprentice judge from London, Ont.

There will also be several non-competitive exhibits and local club-sponsored frames displayed this year.

DEALERS, SEMINARS & SHOW HONOUREE

The two-day show has been described as “the centre of the universe” for philately in Canada.

“This place is special; it really, really is,” said long-time dealer Frank Hoyles, who has been in business for nearly 30 years, the past 23 of which he’s had a table on the bourse at Orapex.

“In this hobby, this is sort of the centre of the universe for Canada. Orapex is always one of the real, true highlights of the year.”

In addition to about 40 dealers, the show also runs a series of seminars, society meetings and study groups.

Returning this year is the show’s popular “Youth Booth,” which offers young collectors free stamps and advice on navigating the hobby.

Each year, Orapex also honours a philatelist who has made a significant contribution to the hobby. This year’s honouree is Robert Lemire, who’s a past president of the British North America Philatelic Society (BNAPS). He’s also served as the editor of BNAPS’ Postal Stationery Study Group newsletter, Postal Stationery Notes, since 2015.

FREE TO ATTEND

This year’s show is open to the public on May 4 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and on May 5 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Admission and parking are both free, and the venue is wheelchair accessible.

For more information, visit orapex.ca or contact info@orapex.ca.

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