Stamp shows cancelled as coronavirus panic hits Canada

As CSN learns about show postponements and cancellations, we will update our Events calendar immediately.

Updated March 19, 10:40 a.m.

In a matter of days, dozens of shows, auctions, club meetings and other philatelic events have been cancelled as concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic continue to escalate worldwide.

Following Health Canada’s community-based measures to mitigate the virus’ spread, many organizers are cancelling their events—sometimes only days before they were slated to begin. In addition to public and mass gathering cancellations, these community-based approaches include avoiding crowding, school closures and workplace measures and closures.

“Measures taken to reduce the amount of time individuals spend in large crowds or in crowded spaces can be effective to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in a community,” reads Health Canada’s recent notice.

THE PHILATELIC IMPACT

The pandemic’s impact on philately might be widespread, according to dealer Brian Grant Duff, owner of Vancouver’s All Nations Stamp & Coin, who added “three months of chaos are beginning.”

“The new virus is a new threat to our hobby as we know it for two reasons—the peril it presents to mostly older collectors and the travel restrictions and illness that may stop the postal system,” added Duff, whose storefront is now open by appointment only and whose online auctions are continuing as long as the postal system continues operating. “The good news in the short term is that we can safely travel at home with our stamp and coin collections, as we always have. Our collections give us something to do while housebound, and mail order is still a possibility for buyers and sellers. Disinfecting mail may make packaging an issue.”

Collectors across the country are echoing these comments.

“We stamp collectors are lucky in a sense,” said Michel Houde, a member of the Philatelic Specialists Society of Canada and North Toronto Stamp Club (NTSC). “We have a hobby that is there should we be forced to say home for a length of time. With the Internet, we can scan eBay and Delcampe, buy online, get things delivered to our homes, do research, write articles, work on our collections and stay in contact with our stamp friends.”

TORONTO, EDMONTON, QUÉBEC & MORE CANCEL

On March 12, the NTSC suspended all club meetings and bourses until further notice. A few days later, the West Toronto Stamp Club and Calgary Philatelic Society followed suit with club officials cancelling all meetings and shows, including the Calgary Spring Bourse on April 18-19.

A slew of show cancellations also came in over the weekend—among these was the Edmonton Spring National Stamp Show slated for March 28-29 in the Alberta capital.

“To optimize public health in view of the coronavirus pandemic, the City of Edmonton has suspended all activity at the Central Lions Recreation Centre effective Monday, March 16,” said show chair John Bucci, who added the show will be rescheduled for a later date.

“Additionally, the Edmonton Stamp Club will be reviewing implications of those affected by not having a show this March,” he said, adding these implications include “dealer and exhibitor refunds, financial impacts, future promotion, funding support, volunteer commitment, future exhibits.”

Other major cancellations in Canada include Dorval, Qué.’s Lakeshore 2020 show on March 20-21; Woodstock, Ont.’s 69th Annual Oxpex/40th Annual Otex on March 12; the Scarborough Stamp Club Show on March 28; and Québec City’s Postalia show on April 4.

At least one major auction – the March 25-26 sale by Ontario’s R. Maresch & Son Auctions – has been postponed.

TRAJAN’S ‘NATIONAL SHOW’ CANCELLED

The National Postage Stamp & Coin Show hosted by Trajan Media, publisher of Canadian Stamp News and Canadian Coin News, has been cancelled due to concerns about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

To read more, click here.

ROYAL CONVENTION STILL UP IN AIR

With the annual convention of the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC) still several months out, organizers are waiting to make a decision.

“The board of the Royal is discussing it intensely,” said long-time RPSC official Charles Verge about the convention planned for June 19-21 in Fredericton, N.B.

Organizers are monitoring the situation and will make a decision soon.

INTERNATIONAL SHOWS

On the international scene, both NZ 2020 in New Zealand and London 2020 in England have been postponed—the latter until 2022, when Canada was slated to host an international exhibition of its own. More details about how this postponement might impact “Capex 22” are forthcoming.

To read more about NZ 2020, click here.

OTHER IMPACTS

In late February, organizers of Milanofil 2020 stamp show in Milan, Italy – a region hit especially hard by COVID-19 – announced the event would be postponed. While it was originally scheduled for March 27-28, no new dates have been announced.

Since mid-February, China’s postal service has been disinfecting all of its outgoing mail with a diluted bleach-based solution. When bags containing Chinese mail are opened, an odour resembling diluted chlorine can be noticed, according to the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, whose mail-carrying members recently expressed concern about the disinfectant.

On March 6, 25 mail carriers invoked their right not to enter a postal station in Peterborough, Ont.; however, Minister Anita Anand, who’s responsible for Canada Post, ultimately ruled there was no danger.

As of March 16, Canada Post lists several international service alerts related to COVID-19, which is causing “significant delays” between Canada and at least eight other countries, including China, Hong Kong, Macao and Italy, where that country’s postal service – Poste Italiane – has closed its facilities. Mail services to Mongolia are also currently suspended.

Canada Post is “closely monitoring the situation and has had its corporate pandemic plan implemented since late January,” according to a recent report by CTV News Edmonton.

“From a safety standpoint, we are encouraging employees to diligently follow the prevention recommendations from health authorities, such as proper hand cleaning,” a Canada Post official told CTV. “We have also prioritized the distribution of hand sanitizer and provided proper safety equipment, such as nitrile gloves, as a precautionary, where appropriate.”

The virus does “not survive for long on objects,” according to a statement issued by China Post through the Universal Postal Union (UPU). “It is therefore safe to receive postal items from China.”

The cancellation of flights worldwide “is going to impact the delivery of mail for the foreseeable future,” the UPU told the Associated Press in another statement.

On March 13, the UPU added it “recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic is an immense challenge for postal operators and our partners in airlines, shipping and global logistics. We encourage everyone to follow the guidance of the World Health Organization, as well as the advice provided by their country’s own medical advisors. The health and safety of everyone is our first priority. UPU is following the situation closely and we continue to work with our membership to ensure the safety of delivered postal items, and that delays caused by flight cancellations are temporary and short lived.”

U.S. SHOW CANCELLATIONS, POSTPONEMENTS

For updates on U.S. show cancellations, click here to visit Linn’s Stamp News’ ongoing list.

As of 10 a.m. on March 16, COVID-19 has hit more than 160 countries (up from 125 on March 12) with nearly 175,000 cases (up from 134,000 on March 12) and nearly 7,000 deaths (up from 5,000 on March 12) worldwide.

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