On today’s date in 1941, Canada signed a historic pact with the U.S. to develop the St. Lawrence Seaway.
In 1959, Canada Post featured the St. Lawrence Seaway on two 5-cent stamps, with one of the stamps leaving behind about 400 of some of the world’s most famous invert errors.
The first stamp (Scott No. 386) featured a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by Pietro Annigoni in commemoration of the Queen’s royal visit to the opening of the canal on April 25, 1959. She and former U.S. president Dwight Eisenhower sailed the canal on the Royal Yacht Britannia.
The second stamp (Scott 387), which commemorated the canal’s opening, was the first joint issue by Canada and the U.S. Designed by Arnold Copeland, William Buckley Ervine Metzl, and Gerald Trottier, the designs depict the maple leaf alongside the bald eagle, with rings over images of the Great Lakes. The first day of issue was June 26 in Ottawa, Ont. and New York.
The best-known of the 1959 St. Lawrence Seaway stamps is the now-famous invert error (Scott 387a), of which only about 400 are known to exist. The errors are valued at around $10,000 in some catalogues.
A second joint-issue stamp (Scott 1015) was issued in 1984 in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the canal’s opening.
The St. Lawrence Seaway is about 600 kilometers in length, running between Montreal, Que. and its southern end point in Port Colborne, Ont.