Universal health care a newer, but defining Canadian detail

That short history lesson reminds us that something we have come to take for granted really is quite a recent innovation. So it is nice to see a stamp that reminds us that this part of our identity is so very new; much newer than Confederation. I often joke that Canadians often define themselves in two ways: one, that they have universal health care, and two, that they are not residents of the United States. If that’s the case, these stamps are very truly Canadian. Continue reading →

Canada’s role in Korean War often forgotten

The truth is that many Canadians forget that this nation committed an entire infantry brigade with supporting troops to that war. That is a significantly larger commitment than at any time in Afghanistan, and remains, in fact our largest commitment of military personnel since the Second World War. The irony comes from the fact that Canada Post has no announced plans to issue a stamp next year to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the conflict. It is a symbol of how, to most Canadians, the Korean War seems more about M*A*S*H reruns than about very human sacrifices and suffering. I suggest that if Canada Post wants to save the day here, it can issue a 2014-dated stamp marking the return to Canada of the last troops sent to Korea. The best way to remember a war is to remember the peace that came afterwards. Continue reading →

Irv knows the stamps of tomorrow are invested in young artists of today

Irv Osterer is to be commended for challenging high school students to design stamps and related products. While it is debatable how many, if any, of his young charges will actually turn into commercial stamp artists or collectors, he nonetheless is reaching out to a group of young people. As a parent, I know that many of these people not only don’t collect stamps, they don’t even use them. What’s more, with regular post offices closing all over Canada, I doubt many young people even know where to buy a stamp. This is all just a sign of the times. Continue reading →

Station K closure a sign of the times

On one level is the fact that the Station K building is unique in that the royal cipher ER over the doorway is actually ER VIII, or King Edward VIII. Most of us know him better as the Duke of Windsor, the man who became King of England in the 1930s, and then abdicated to marry the woman he loved, a divorced American commoner. The Brits are pretty tolerant of their royalty, but apparently do have a three-strike rule. Although never actually crowned king, Edward did rule for a short period of time. During that time, Canada Post built Station K, and put his cipher over the door. It is, I am told, the only post office and possibly the only public building in Canada to bear this distinction. Continue reading →

Weekend warriors deserve as much honour as any soldier

What makes the honouring of these regiments is that while the Canadian army did maintain two regular force Black Watch battalions for a few years, today these regiments are made up of citizen soldiers. Sometimes – and not always affectionately – referred to as weekend warriors. These young men and women train evenings and weekends, for them the army is a part-time job or hobby. It is a tradition that goes back a long time. Canada had an active militia even before the War of 1812. Since then, in every crisis, the part-time soldier has been called on time and time again. Sometimes, such as in the Second World War, entire units have been activated; other times, such as Afghanistan, much smaller units, or even individuals, have been called upon. Continue reading →

Even non-collectors must admit these stamps are far out

On a clear night, you can look up and see most of the planets, if you know where to look, with your naked eyes. If you do it often, they become familiar enough that you begin to recognize them without thinking. Jupiter in its glory, blazing Venus, and even Saturn are not that hard to spot, but sometimes elusive in our world of light and atmospheric pollution. Nothing I ever saw prepared me for these dramatic images. What makes it exciting is that these stamps show images of the planets that could never be seen by an earthbound observer. This is the way the solar system looks to us as we begin to explore our tiny section of the cosmos. Continue reading →

War of 1812 myths persist

While I write this, the government’s events to mark the War of 1812 are kicking into high gear. This fall marks a few key events: the captures of Fort Mackinaw and Detroit by Major-General Sir Isaac Brock, and the repulsion of an American invasion at the Battle of Queenston Heights. Of course the war wasn’t over in just two months. Most operations were confined to Upper Canada; essentially modern-day Ontario. In a series of campaigns fought mostly during the summer months, Britain and America battled for control of Canada. Today, the war is 200 years into the past, and both sides claim victory. As funny as it sounds, that may even be true. The war ended, not with a total victory on one side, but with a treaty. Continue reading →

Stamps help Canadian stereotypes stick

They depict, as do dozens of other secular Christmas stamps, Canadians outdoors in winter. My thoughts went to the scene, a man in snowshoes following a woman on a toboggan pulled by a dog. They appear to be delivering a present. It occurred to me that I have never seen anyone successfully get a dog to pull a toboggan. It also occurred to me that, while I have worn snowshoes on a number of occasions, most Canadians I know have never actually snowshoed anywhere. Absolutely nobody I know, anywhere, has actually delivered or taken home a Christmas present using either method of transportation. Sure the image is all warm and fuzzy, but I wonder just how relevant it was, or is, for Canadians. Continue reading →

Early airmail stamps trigger tales of adventure

Today, more than 40 years after man first walked on the moon, and when transatlantic flights are taken with a grain of salt, we have to strain to think about what it must have been like for those early adventurers. First off, they didn’t have autopilot, GPS, satellites, radar, and constant radio contact with the ground. They had compasses, clocks, basic instruments, and if they wanted to know exactly where they were, the navigator used a sextant. The engines were often unreliable and unproven, and even aircraft design was still partly an element of guesswork. Continue reading →

Canadian football worth celebrating

It seems that Canadian football fell out of fashion and everyone began watching the “important” teams from south of the border. You know, those guys who play on a smaller field and need an extra down to try to make 10 yards. The CFL, by nature of being Canadian, seemed to be somehow less, especially in southern Ontario, which despite the lessons of the War of 1812, often draws its cultural identity from our celebrity neighbour. This year, things changed. The CFL managed to get Canadians excited about a big number, the 100th playing of the Grey Cup, a championship that many Canadians often don’t even remember who won. Continue reading →

Keep up to date with the philatelic community

Sign up to receive our newsletter.

Canadian Stamp News

Canada

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