Meet the Pin Wizards

by Larissa Campbell

Although the Forks site may not be an official venue for any of the 2017 Canada Games sports, it’s a major hub of the “unofficial sport” of the 2017 Canada Summer Games - Pin trading!

Pin Trading Canada Games

Photo: Marcel Druwe

Pin trading, coined the “unofficial sport” of the Canada Games is a central social component to the games. Volunteers, athletes, and spectators alike proudly sport their home province, city, and special Canada Games pins on their hats, shirts or lanyards, in hopes of making a trade for that “elusive pin” that they so dearly desire. Sporting my own Manitoba and City of Winnipeg pins, I set out today to the Forks Festival for a meeting with Barry Taman, who is commonly referred to by serious pin collectors as the “pin trading wizard”. In fact, Barry heads The Pin People, the company responsible for making pins for the past seven Canada Games as well both Olympic and Pan-Am Games.

Pin Trading Canada Games WinnipegPhoto: Denis Drouin

For Barry, his favorite part of pin trading is how it “brings people together”, allowing you to make friends with a stranger from other cities, provinces or countries. Yet it is equally important to note how pin trading is also a form of self-expression, with each pin representing something unique. Barry’s two favorite pins, the “Cuckoo for Pins” pin and “Team Nunavut Puzzle” pin are both unique, each with moving and interlocking parts. At the end of our mini interview, Barry was kind enough to present me with two pins: a purple volunteer popsicle pin and his favorite “Cuckoo for Pins” pin which I proudly placed upon my volunteer lanyard.

Pin Trading Canada GamesPhoto: Ian McCausland

I proudly wore my new pins as I continued to move through the pin trading tent to speak with other pin enthusiasts including armed forces veteran Nick Pociuk. Nick first got involved in pin trading in Switzerland, where he was a resident hockey player. In Switzerland, he and his teammates would trade pins with other players before each of their games. Despite retiring from being a professional hockey players, Nick’s love for pins lived on. To date, he has collected over 10,000 pins from all over the world; the most valuable of which is a framed Japanese pin worth over six hundred dollars. Nick is also a proud member of Winnipeg Pin Collectors Club, which is comprised of 110 members of many different nations including the United States of America and Germany.

I even snuck in little bit of pin trading myself, trading a City of Winnipeg and Manitoba pin for a Saint John’s and New Brunswick pin with Sharon, an out of town media member. Now, if you are looking to doing some pin collecting, I suggest visiting the MLCC, Panago, Macdon, Commissioner of Languages and Société Franco-Manitobaine tents at the Forks Festival… you never know where you will find free Canada Games sponsor pins!