The Wonder Pens Family Goes to the National Stamp Show in Toronto
With all the excitement of the Scriptus Toronto Pen Show, I think I needed a week or maybe two weeks to recover, but there's no rest for the weary! This past weekend was the Toronto National Postage Stamp Show. I have to admit, I was not too excited leading up to the show, but only because I forgot until Saturday night. Had I remembered earlier, though, I'm pretty sure I would have been excited all week, because I love stamps.
In case you didn't know this about me, I'm a lover of all kinds of stationery. Obviously, fountain pens, and notebooks and paper, but also even gel pens and ballpoint pens, and of course letter writing supplies and ephemera and...postage stamps. I have spent way, way too much time and possibly money on the Canada Post website ordering new stamps online. However, I think you can only use so many low value Beneficial Insects stamps before you start writing to Canada Post to come up with some other low value stamps to make your letters look a bit more interesting - so, when I heard of this Toronto Stamp Show, I knew I needed to go and find a few things to spice up my snail mail. The show was three days, and the last day was this past Sunday, November 8th. Our shop is normally closed on Sundays, but we had the Letter Writing Club at 2:00, so we had to hustle to make it out to Mississauga for the show's opening at 10:00 am, and back in time for the Letter Writing Club. The show took place out by the airport, at the International Centre. We actually left home to go to the show a bit later than we planned, 9:30 instead of 9:00, mainly because Jon insisted that he "needed" a cup of coffee to make the drive. Additionally, we took a wrong turn, and ended up in the airport, driving around in loops and watching planes fly through the air. If we hadn't made the detour, though, it would have been surprisingly easy to get to - we took the DVP across the city, and then the 427 north, straight onto Airport Road to the International Centre. I think it took us just about half an hour to drive there from the shop (on Sunday morning, without traffic).
This was my first stamp show, and the experience was much different from the Pen Show a week earlier. The space is huge and expansive, and very open. It was especially great for us, because Caleb napped on the car ride over, and was ready for his usual search and destroy.
When we arrived, it wasn't too busy with people, which was nice because it meant we could go up and ask questions without worrying that we were costing a vendor one (or more) sales with our silly beginners questions. One of the vendors mentioned that Friday and especially Saturday are much busier, and even Sunday later in the day gets a bit busier, but we arrived close to open on Sunday morning. I think because the space for the entire show was so massive, vendors had multiple tables and lots of space to spread out. I think some people may have felt the pen show was a bit crowded, but that's a bit of the trade-off for having the pen show in the heart of city, easily and quickly accessible by TTC.
We may have stood out a bit being on the younger side of most the people, but everyone was very friendly! I think mainly because we clearly did not know what we were doing. There boxes everywhere, and lots of labels indicating booklets and topicals and countries.
I left with lots! The best is probably that I got a bunch of old stamps that are still good for postage, so I'll be able to use them on letters. I sometimes get some pretty amazing looking envelopes from Canada and around the world, so I can't wait to to start surprising a few folks with stamps other than my usual fare. I also got a few vintage envelopes (I'm not sure what I'll do with those yet), and the big tupperware of various international stamps.
I can't wait to start using some of these! I'll definitely be trying to visit another stamp show, certainly next year's Toronto show. I'm no "collector," even though I have a million stamps already, but it's a lot of fun to browse through some of these old and beautiful stamps. I like a lot of these vintage ones better that the current ones today (even though I like a lot of the current ones!). It's a bit of a pain keeping with the ongoing increase in postal prices, but I sometimes wish Canada Post would issue new stamps in various values that would make it more fun to add up to the total postage on letters, in addition to the "permanent" stamps!