Return of Orapex expected to satisfy ‘pent-up demand’

By Jesse Robitaille

Philatelists are set to gather in Ottawa for Orapex, which returns this April at a new venue and marks the first national-level exhibition in Canada since 2019.

About 30 dealers and nearly 170 exhibit frames will fill the new venue at the Nepean Sportsplex, located at 1701 Woodroffe Ave., on April 23-24. After cancellations in 2020 and 2021, this year’s Orapex marks the 59th outing since 1961. For many attendees, it will be their first in-person show since the pandemic broke out, and organizers are “very excited to be able to put on a national show and bouse,” said show chair John Tooth.

“Collectors are looking forward for the opportunity to see the offerings of some 30 dealers,” said Tooth, a former president of the Ottawa Philatelic Society (OPS), one of three main clubs whose members volunteer to run the annual show. “We are under the impression that there is a significant pent-up demand for philatelic material. As a measure of confidence, this year’s stamp show has attracted a number of important philatelic sponsors such as Sparks Auctions, which is now partnering with Orapex as well as the British North America Philatelic Society, the Canadian Aerophilatelic Society and several major dealers.”

Formerly known as the Ottawa RA Centre Philatelic Exhibition, it has been rebranded as the Ottawa Regional Association of Stamp Exhibitions but continues to be managed by volunteers from the OPS, RA Stamp Club, the Amicale des philatélistes de l’Outaouais and other related organizations.

The Nepean Sportsplex, located in the mostly residential district of Nepean, offers “superior facilities” compared to the show’s past location, the RA Centre, which is about six kilometres south of Parliament Hill, Tooth said.

“The curling rink is larger, meetings rooms are located near the main event and support activities such as Tulips & Maple caterers are located on site.”

As a COVID precaution, organizers will also spread out the dealers more than at past shows while providing more table space “for the benefit of collectors,” he added.

“Collectors, dealers and exhibitors will appreciate that there is ample free parking and a very spacious facility for the bourse, exhibits, social gatherings and meetings – and there is heat should cold weather strike.”


The exhibits, which are listed on the Orapex website,, include two topical entries and three thematic entries – a nod to this year’s show theme, “Topicals, Thematics and Illustrated Mail.”

“This year’s Orapex has more exhibits and exhibitors than previous events,” said Tooth, who added nearly 25 exhibitors submitted single-frame exhibits “hoping to get feedback from the judges that will help them improve their exhibits for other stamp shows.”

“One would almost think that there was an international one-frame show in Canada this June,” he added, referencing CAPEX 22 coming to Toronto from June 9-12.

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