Again, our spring pilgrimage to the Midwest Decoy Collectors Association show in St. Charles Illinois has been accomplished. We managed to fly the “Friendly Skies” without incident and without a delay like last year’s six hour stint in Ottawa during which the better part of an excellent bottle of duty free Dominican rum seemed to disappear. All in all smooth sailing.
The trip to St. Charles is one any enthusiastic collector should undertake. Access to Chicago is easy from many Canadian cities, with US Customs pre-clearance in the airports and direct flights to O’Hare. From Ottawa it’s a 2 ¼ hour jaunt plus a 45 minute limo ride to Pheasant Run. Alternatively, numerous of our colleagues choose to drive. In any event, the access to so many decoys, dealers and other collectors is well worth the travel.
This year was particularly special as a significant part of the vast Peter Brown collection of Canadian decoys was on offer through the auction house of Guyette and Deeter. Proceeds from the sale went to the benefit of Ducks Unlimited Canada. There were many exceptional birds and prices reflected that. Room-to-room trading in Canadian birds was also strong and there were still some on offer at the MegaCenter show.
One east coast preening brant fit within the carry on luggage, so it came home to Canada with us. For those who have been following our conversion to large decoy collecting, this brings the current total to an even dozen. The sunroom is almost full. Imagine how many shorebirds would fit in the same space.
The attraction to this year’s show for folks north of the border was so strong that nine out of our eleven directors were in attendance at the board meeting we always hold in conjunction with the event. West coast, home smoked salmon was, once again, provided by our genial host Blair Ledingham in his penthouse suite overlooking the golf course. Wine, rum and other libations were contributed by various attendees. Some actual association business also got accomplished. Plans are well underway for our show at the Ambassador Hotel, Kingston on October 20 and 21, and we have already sold our first dealer tables for that event.
“Eleven directors?”, you say. “I thought we had sixteen.” Over the past year a number of long time board members elected not to stand for a renewal of term. Coincident with that we agreed at our meeting in October of last year to reduce the number of directors to eleven. More details on this are presented by Robin Craig later in this issue. Given the geographic spread of our association, it was proving to be very difficult ever to get together a quorum with a board size of sixteen. We feel that members are still well represented by a meaningful number of directors from across our association, yet we now are able to operate more effectively at our board meetings.
A final and very important point. Following the election of a new board of directors it is a requirement that the board appoint a president for the coming term. We are pleased to announce that, at our April meeting, the new board confirmed that person to be our current vice president Mark Harding. The new president will take office at the Annual General Meeting in October in conjunction with our Kingston show. Welcome president elect Mark.