OTD: Nelson Mandela honoured on Canadian stamp

On today’s date in 2015, iconic human rights activist Nelson Mandela was commemorated on a Permanent stamp issued by Canada Post in a ceremony with the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

The stamp recognized the special relationship Canada shared with Mandela, who referred to this country as his home away from home.

“Our stamp program seeks to tell the stories of people who have had a powerful effect on our society, and Nelson Mandela’s story is among the most powerful. Canada Post is truly privileged to celebrate his life, his legacy and his struggle that inspired generations to fight for what is right,” said Deepak Chopra, president and CEO of Canada Post.


During his 27 years in prison, Mandela became a symbol of the moral fight for freedom, equality and justice in South Africa and around the world. His message strongly resonated among Canadians, who were at the forefront of the global outcry over his imprisonment and of the unrelenting demand for his release.

The Permanent stamp was designed by Ian Drolet.

After his release in 1990, Canada was among the first countries Mandela visited. Four years later, as president of South Africa, he specifically drew on Canadian values, policies and practices to build his post-apartheid vision of a multi-racial democracy rooted in equality and governed by the rule of law.

In 2001, on his third visit to Canada, Mandela was bestowed with honorary Canadian citizenship—the first living person to receive this recognition.

“Nelson Mandela, an honorary Canadian citizen, is an inspiration to everyone who values human rights. As a great champion of freedom, beloved by Canadians, he will forever be remembered as a man whose courage changed not just South Africa, but also the world,” said Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister.

The stamp was inspired by a photograph taken by Yousuf Karsh on Mandela’s first visit to Canada in 1990, just four months after his release from prison.

The stamp was issued in booklets of 10, which measure 32 mm by 32 mm. An official first-day cover (OFDC) and souvenir sheet with an international-rate stamp were also issued. The stamp, souvenir sheet and OFDC were designed by Ian Drolet with photos by Karsh, Jürgen Schadeberg and Stephane de Sakutin. They were printed by the Canadian Bank Note Co. The OFDC measures 191 mm by 113 mm and was cancelled in Ottawa, Ont. The circular cancel has a floral emblem in the centre.

Mandela died on Dec, 5, 2013.

Keep up to date with the philatelic community

Sign up to receive our newsletter.

Canadian Stamp News


Canadian Stamp News is Canada's premier source of information about stamp collecting and related fields.

Although we cover the entire world of philatelics, the majority of our readers are Canadian, and we concentrate on the unique circumstances surrounding collecting in our native land.

Send Us Your Event

Running an event? Send it to us and we will display it on Canadian Stamp News!

Submit Event →

Subscribe To 26 Issues For Just $47.99/year

Subscribe today to receive Canada's premier stamp publication. Canadian Stamp News is available in both paper and digital forms.

Subscribe Now