On today’s date in 1979, the Dempster Highway—Canada’s only all-weather road across the Arctic Circle—was officially opened.
In 1998, Canada Post issued a 45-cent stamp (Scott #1739) featuring the Dempster Highway as part of its second issue of scenic Canadian highways. The next year, it continued the three-year Scenic Highways series with a 46-cent stamp (SC #1782) depicting the Northwest Territories’ portion of the Dempster Highway.
“Acquiring the panoramic images was the most challenging part of the project,” said Lou Cable, designer of the 1998 stamp. “After sending photographers across vast distances at the mercy of Mother Nature, we certainly appreciate the massive size, geological contrast and climatic range of our country. This is never more evident than in this year’s stamps.”
The 1999 stamp shows the border between the Yukon and Northwest Territories, known as Route 8. The Dempster route actually crosses the Arctic Circle and ends at Inuvik, making it the most northern public highway on this continent. And as in previous years, the 1999 stamp incorporated panoramic photographs of the highway with signs designating the route. Close-cropped images depict the local culture and history.
Both stamps were printed by Ashton-Potter Canada on Tullis Russell coated paper and had general tagging along each side.