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The following article appeared in the September 2012 issue of the CN Journal, a publication of the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association. It is an original work of the author, Brent W.J. Mackie. All rights reserved. © Copyright 2012 Brent W.J. Mackie.


My Experience at the Calgary RCNA Convention

By: Brent W.J. Mackie

Compared to many of the long-time respected collectors that I am surrounded by such as Robert Graham, Dan Gosling, Bill Waychison, Paul Johnston, Paul Petch, Charles Moore, Ron Greene, Michael Turrini and so many others, I am still relatively new to organized numismatics. So far, I have attended RCNA and ONA conventions since 2006. They have brought me to cities I have never been to before including Edmonton, Saint John, Sudbury, Kingston and Calgary. This year's RCNA convention in Calgary was something I had really looked forward to for it would let me reunite with people I rarely see and it would bring me to more new cities.

Moraine Lake
Moraine Lake
(Photo H.Nienhuis)

My trip started early on the morning of Tuesday July 17 as I made my way to Toronto Pearson International Airport for the 7:05 flight. Before boarding, I discovered that two other members of the Waterloo Coin Society were on the same flight with me: Connie and Ed Hagen. We agreed to meet up after arriving in Calgary and share a cab to the hotel. We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring downtown Calgary, enjoying subs in the park for lunch, getting lost on 4th Street SW (or was that 4th Avenue?), searching out some local banks and finally ordering in Boston Pizza for dinner. We retired a little early as we'd already had a long day and tomorrow would be another.

Lake Louise
Lake Louise
(Photo B.Mackie)

Wednesday was the bus tour to Moraine Lake, Lake Louise and Banff, all buried within Banff National Park. I was in awe at the beauty of the Rocky Mountains throughout the trip. It seemed like all around us were giant peaks of ancient rock rising from the earth. Moraine Lake is perhaps better known as the scene from the back of the Canadian 1969 and 1979 $20 bank notes. The bus stopped for a while to let us take photos and wander around. Caleb Brace and I decided to take the path less travelled and climb a path to the top of a small rock pile for some better views. Lake Louise is the home of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Again, we disembarked to explore the famous hotel and grounds. Inside, a harpist was playing to entertain the hotel's guests and visitors. A short ride later and we were in the town of Banff, Alberta. Here we had time to get some lunch, do some shopping and explore the town. While wandering around, I came upon an elk enjoying his own lunch in a small bush area just off the main street. I was able to get within five feet of him before I backed off, but he didn't seem to care at all. Apparently the elk in Banff are quite used to humans and regularly stroll right through town. We also visited the Cascade Gardens at the Parks Canada Administration building. The gardens are absolutely stunning. The tour carried on with drive-bys or short visits to Bow River Falls, the Banff Springs Hotel, the local hot springs and a deserted town marked only by the steps to a long-removed church. After arriving back in Calgary, we had only a short time before the traditional President's Welcome Reception.

Banff, Alberta
Banff, Alberta
(Photo B.Mackie)

On Thursday, my day was largely consumed by executive meetings of the Canadian Paper Money Society and the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association. The evening consisted of the annual Royal Canadian Mint reception with greetings from Mint personnel including Ian Bennett and RCNA President William Waychison. They exchanged a few presentations and then we all returned to socializing and enjoying some wonderful hors d'oerves and drinks.

Opening Ceremonies
Ian Bennett, Gerry Gaetz, William Waychison and Tom Hallenbeck being sworn in as honorary Calgarians
(Photo J.Filiault)

Friday was when the show really got underway. Before the doors opened, I was present for the Club Delegate's Breakfast where Brett Irick and Jody Filiault talked about "Building Your Club." They shared some great points that all clubs should take into consideration. At 10am, I was already in the bourse waiting for the Mint to begin sales so I missed the official opening ceremonies out in the foyer. Ian Bennett from the Mint, Gerry Gaetz from the Bank of Canada, RCNA President William Waychison and ANA President Tom Hallenbeck were piped in by Daniel Anderson and then "white hatted" as honorary Calgarians by the City of Calgary. Ian Bennett then presented the Bank of Canada with the last cent minted which will go to the Currency Museum in Ottawa after being on display at the RCNA Convention. The Mint was selling two special RCNA-branded products again this year: the premium proof set with special parchment insert and an uncirculated set with a special RCNA Calgary token replacing the 50 cent coin. The sets were limited and I understand sales were brisk. Friday afternoon was filled with the CPMS Luncheon and Annual General Meeting with speaker Stan Clute talking about William Aberhart, the educator who would eventually become the premier of Alberta and who would sign the Alberta Prosperity Certificates of 1936. Friday evening included a tour of the Fort Calgary Museum where we were all treated to an educational display of North-West Mounted Police uniforms worn by Brett Irick, Michael Turrini and Ed Hagen. Paul Johnston briefly found himself in the fort's jail cell and Ron Greene nearly drove off with one of museum's cars! Dinner at the fort was preceded by a talk on unearthing the remains of the original Fort Calgary back in the 1960s.

Fort Calgary
Brett Irick, Michael Turrini and Ed Hagen showing off uniforms of the North-West Mounted Police at the Fort Calgary Museum
(Photo H.Nienhuis)

Saturday featured the RCNA Annual General Meeting where my moment of fame involved introducing several constitutional amendments dealing with our area directors. As a result of one vote, my title changed to "Area Director - South-Central Ontario" as I gained more territory but now get to share it among two other directors. The awards presentations came next where hard-working individuals were recognized with presidential awards and we found out who got top honours for their exhibits. Following the awards ceremony, I helped out with the Juniors Auction. What a riot that was! I never knew these things were so much fun. Michael Turrini really knows how to put on a show and the kids were great too. Dan Gosling's grandkids were determined to outbid each other even after the suggestion that they could easily just get Dan to buy them the magnifying glass later. The Society of Bearded Numismatists was resuscitated with a few other hairy folks and I dropped in to the meeting of the Canadian Tire Coupon Collectors Club. Next came the RCNA banquet, the crown jewel of every convention where we enjoyed a great meal, good company a presentation on 100 years of the Calgary Stampede, and the presentation of the RCNA’s most prestigious awards. The revered J.D. Ferguson award, the highest award in Canadian numismatics, was presented to Daniel Gosling. The evening wrapped up some time Sunday morning as the final guests at the post-banquet reception trickled or stumbled off to bed.

Juniors Auction
Michael Turrini trying to talk some sense into Dan Gosling’s grandkids at the Juniors Auction
(Photo H.Nienhuis)

Sunday was a day of rest for many, but for me it meant packing my things, collecting photos from friends and taking one last tour of the bourse floor. I found a few others who had similar departure times so we shared a cab back to the airport before finally saying goodbye to Calgary.

For as many events as I was able to attend at this convention, there were several more. In total, there were seven organized tours and meetings by no less than 14 numismatic groups. I also heard that the auction was considered a success with many lots exceeding estimates. Thank you to the Calgary Numismatic Society and its volunteers and those from the RCNA who put on this convention. Of the few I have been to, it's definitely one of the best.

See you in Winnipeg in 2013!