WTSC celebrating 85 years

To celebrate its 85th anniversary this year, the West Toronto Stamp Club (WTSC) is giving each of its members a commemorative 85th-anniversary pin.

“We will also create a commemorative cover with Picture Postage using the selected pin design and other cachet design elements,” wrote WTSC President Sid Mensinga in the club’s April newsletter.

Picture Postage stamps will be made available to club members “at cost,” he added.

WTSC members are currently voting on pin and cachet designs submitted to mark the club’s recent milestone.

“We are also considering how we as a club might give back to the hobby in some tangible way,” added Mensinga, who’s welcoming suggestions via sidmensinga@gmail.com.

The date of the club’s anniversary celebration will be announced soon.

A BRIEF HISTORY

The WTSC can trace its roots to Feb. 20, 1935, when a group of philatelists gathered at the home of Samuel Burford, who lived at 782 Indian Rd., in Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood, to form a stamp club in Toronto’s west end.

The first official meeting was held the following month at the Assembly Hall on 2875 Dundas St. W., and attendees elected an executive, which included President V. C. Chute; Secretary S. C. Burford; Treasurer N. W. Hill; and directors D. Henderson, R. B. Lindsay, M. McIvor and F. W. Reynolds.

By fall, membership had grown to 20, and during its first year of operation, the club found a fixed meeting place, where guest speakers would sometimes come and present; drafted, read and adopted a constitution; began producing a “Bulletin”; and established auctions and stamp-exchange sessions.

In 1939, the WTSC became affiliated with the Canadian Philatelic Society (now the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada, or RPSC) and is currently chartered as RPSC Chapter #14. The club is also Chapter #C-174151 of the American Philatelic Society.

Since its formation, the club has boasted more than 1,000 members, including Bob Woolley; Cyril Woodhead, who concurrently held the presidency of WTSC and Canadian Philatelic Society); Bill Sparrow; Everett Drake, who’s the club’s longest-serving president at 22 years, 21 of which were consecutive; Arnold Tuthill, Art Insley, Jim Webb and Frank Smith, who organized and conducted the auctions; Fred Charles, who’s the longest-serving secretary at 14 consecutive years; Frank Alusio, who’s the longest-serving treasurer at 27 consecutive years; and Keith Cain, who’s the longest-serving membership chair at 20 consecutive years.

Other prominent WTSC members have included Fred Jarrett, G. E. Davenport, Richard Maresh, J. H. Lowe, Robert Lowe, C. M. Jephcott, Ken Rowe, William Slate, Bill McCann, Charles Verge, Frank Alusio and Garfield Portch, among many more.

The WTSC regularly meets at the Fairfield Seniors Centre at 80 Lothian Ave. in Etobicoke.

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