I waited a few months before writing my review of the 2016 RCNA Convention in Ottawa because I really wanted everything to soak in. It’s often valuable to write about experiences when they are fresh. The danger of writing after an extended period of time after the event leads to issues related to nostalgia and what our memory hoped events were like rather than reality.
I do have fond memories of this event so some of my analysis is undoubtedly a reflection of those great moments. All of that said, I will attempt to take a birds-eye view of what happened that might allow the reader to make an inference as to whether the event is worth attending in subsequent years.
If you haven’t read my review on the 2015 RCNA show in Halifax please follow the link and check that out. It was my first RCNA show so it was a bit starry-eyed.
Ottawa – A Great Big City, Great for a Coin Convention
This years’ RCNA convention was held in Ottawa and made possible by the efforts of the Ottawa Numismatic Society, a group that I am a member of and will show incredible bias towards. This group of rough-neck and passionate numismatists were responsible for a fine show.
Steve Woodland and Serge Pelltier were outstanding leaders as their professional military backgrounds rubbed off on how smooth and organized the events were. The volunteers worked hard with heart and soul to provide snacks and drinks, set-up tables, and direct numismatists.
Overall it felt like the show was in a tough spot for a country fella like me. Downtown in the heart of Ottawa, at the Delta City Centre, a stones throw away from parliament was a heart racing experience to get to via car. Navigating construction and a nearby sinkhole cleanup made me miss the target several times. The cost of parking also hurt pretty bad.
The hotel itself was impressive, much like the Halifax excursion. This one felt a bit more busy for its size and saw mixed results as far as hotel staff were concerned. One day service was superb for me, another it was non-existent. Though I was impressed by the rooms and how quiet the halls were. I know several other big events were booked in the hotel simultaneously so I was impressed with that.
Busy Bourse Floor and Packed Club Meetings
The bourse floor was as expected. It was filled, but not booming at the sides. Competitive exhibits were engaging and were difficult to attain a ribbon on. I learned a few hard lessons in my first exhibiting experience and will come back next year with a better game. Several commented to me that it was some of the largest exhibiting they have seen in years.
The setup for the coin kids program was well-led and seemed to have great engagement among youth. I wonder if local children in Ottawa were aware of the opportunity. Parents could have taken advantage of that between visiting parliament and the round of museums. In subsequent years I am looking at how I can engage local media and youth to increase turnout without monetary expense.
The various clubs were ever enjoyable. I ambitiously attempted to attend several, one after another but ended up missing some and having to leave others early. Such is life when you get to meet great friends who you only have the pleasure of seeing once in a calendar year. Moments are precious.
New Clubs were VERY well Attended
This year I started the first annual Hudson’s Bay Company Collectors Society meeting which was well attended by stalwarts in the community. I was really humbled by the caliber of numismatists present and told it was the highest attended. When I was home I tallied 35 signed up. That made me pretty pleased. We received a very well-received review in Canadian Coin News.
I also attended CANEW (Canadian Association Numismatic Editors and Writers), also in its first year and led by Serge Pelltier, responsible for much of the whole weeks’ events. They have some ambitious plans for scholarship that were impressive to say the least.
Next was the Society of Bearded Numismatists or SOB’s. The meeting almost didn’t happen as several of us were confused on which room to go to and who would be there but it ended up being well-attended and much fun among friends. It was filled with the usual mystery and legend surrounding such an obscure fraternal organization.
The Banquet Dinner was Amazing as Usual
And as usual the banquet dinner was the highlight of the week. I had the pleasure of meeting the ANA president Jeff Garrett and listening to an historical reenactor known as Colonel John Bye.
Len Buth (a member of the aforementioned HBCCS) was awarded the J. Douglas Ferguson award. The food was as expected: delicious and gorgeous.
My wife attended with me so the gentleman at my table had quite the conversations going trying to figure out how she was convinced in attending. For all of those curious she attended of her own free-will and had an absolute blast. Keep that in mind when considering inviting your spouses to a coin show or convention. Just be willing to go to the conventions related to their hobbies as well.
It was not until the last day of the show that I ended up making my first purchases. That is always a good sign of the great extra-curricular activities and the stories to share with others. As usual I had more fun learning of what my friends had bought and catching up with a few of what my favorite dealers wanted to show off. Just like in Halifax though I was impressed with the quality and variety of offerings on the bourse.