While the present Barrie District Stamp Club was founded on the 1st of December 1960, Charles Verge, FRPSC, FRPSL, Historian for The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada, has provided evidence that a stamp club existed in Barrie as far back as 1889. All we know is that the club was known as the “Barrie Branch of the C. P. A.” [Canadian Philatelic Association] and that it appears to have been organized on the 4th of March 1889. Nothing more is known about this club.
There was another club going in Barrie in the 1940’s and early 1950’s, but for some reason, it just faded away.
In early 1960 the Universal Cooler Company, manufacturers of supermarket coolers and freezers, transferred its operations from Brantford to Barrie. A senior shop foreman with the company, L. Merle Bernhardt, a stamp collector, whose specialty was Scouts on Stamps, had been very active with the Brantford Stamp Club and was very disturbed to learn there was no stamp club in Barrie. So he decided to get busy and organize one. He made contact with Larry Whitby who knew a number of other collectors in the area and arrangements were made to have a meeting to explore the feasibility of establishing a new stamp club.
Ten people met on the 1st of December 1960 at Central United Church and agreed to form a club to be known as “THE BARRIE DISTRICT STAMP CLUB.” Mr. Bernhardt was elected as the first President; Dr. Paul Scott – the Simcoe County Medical Officer of Health – was elected Vice-President; Larry Whitby was elected as Treasurer; and Michael Millar was elected as Secretary. Dues were set at $2.00 per meeting.
On the 1st of January 1962 the Club became Chapter 73 of The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada. In 1963 Dr. Scott became President and the Club held its first exhibition. The Club has been in continuous existence ever since its formation and celebrated its 50th anniversary on the 2nd of December 2010.
Michael Millar, FRPSC, the last of the Charter members, died on the 19th of October 2014, one day after our 53rd Annual Stamp Show and Bourse.