The first BNAPS Winnipeg Regional Group was formed on 22 November 1953. Alex Stewart was appointed chairman with E.P. Warren as secretary. At the second meeting held on 7 December 1953, Dr. Murray Campbell gave a talk on early Red River postal history, illustrated with an album of Red River covers, beautifully written up by member Tom Miller.
Future talks given by Kasimir Bileski, Solomon Kanee and Isaac Pitblado were highlights; these are remembered vividly by some members. H.W.S. Wilding was appointed secretary in 1955. In the late 1950s, the group became less active and folded.
On 3 May 1984, a meeting was held at the Marlborough Inn to revive the BNAPS Regional Group for Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario. The members in attendance expressed an interest in several further meetings as an experiment. To date, the Regional Group has been most successful with an average attendance of fourteen members and guests. The group meets five times a year, four of them held at St. Peters Anglican Church and one meeting held in conjunction with the Stamp Show of the Winnipeg Philatelic Society.
At our first regular meeting of 23 June 1984, we were treated to two excellent presentations. Bill Pawluk discussed the evolution of the postal system of Canada from 1896 - 1910 using slides of material from his collection. He highlighted such events as the Introduction of Rapid Cancelling Machines, the introduction of Imperial "Penny Postage", and the issuing of booklets and postage due stamps.
Derek Smith then presented an anecdotal treatment of the history behind the preparation of the New Brunswick decimal currency issue of 1860. Particular mention was made of the role of the Postmaster General, Charles Connell, and the story of the 5 cents stamps prepared bearing his likeness. Slides were used to good effect to show details of the stamps.
Two slide presentations on widely different areas of BNA philately were presented at our Regional meeting on 3 November 1985. The first talk, by Robert Lemire, covered details of the Canadian prestamped cards issued in the period 1967 to 1974. The second, by Don Fraser, showed examples of the various square circle cancels used in Manitoba. As our co-organizers gave the talks, we can hardly comment on their merit. However, we did not see too many slumberers in the audience.
On 16 February 1985, the Regional Group was treated to an absolutely spectacular pair of talks on the Large Queens Issue of Canada. The first, by Harry Duckworth (Sr.), described the basic features of the issue, the rates for which they were printed with emphasis on rates to North American destinations, the plates and the papers. Harry Duckworth (Jr.) then followed with slides showing Large Queens Issue covers mailed to overseas destinations. These were followed by slides showing unusual cancellations.
At the meeting of 11 May 1985 in conjunction with the Winnipeg Philatelic Society, Robin Harris presented a seminar entitled "Canada 1977 - 1985 Environment Definitives". Slides were used to good effect to show details of the stamps.
The highlight of the meeting on 3 November 1986 was a talk given by Don Amos on "The Canadian Pioneer and Semi-Official Air Mail Issues of Canada". Don then answered many questions about these often neglected issues and showed some lovely material from his extensive collection.
At the meeting of 11 May 1986 held in conjunction with the Winnipeg Philatelic Society Stamp Show, we were fortunate in having as quest speaker Art Leggett of Toronto. Art presented a talk about the structure and workings of the Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Research Foundation, and had many interesting comments on the expertising of BNA material.
At the meeting on 1 November, we were treated to Dave Whiteley's excellent presentation on Trans-Atlantic covers. The various items he brought along generated comments and discussions about rates, markings and routings into the last half of the 19th century.
At the 21 February 1987 meeting, Beverlie Clark presented a seminar on "The Postal history of the 1998 Map Stamp of Canada". She discussed the background of this interesting issue, and showed a fascinating selection of covers that demonstrated the use of the map stamp to meet many different rates.
Several meetings have followed the successful format where members were encouraged to bring along a few pages of their favorite BNA collections. The purpose of this type of meeting was to give everyone a chance to show portions or their collections without having to go to the trouble of preparing slides.
Robert Lemire and Don Fraser
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