Douglas stamp marks nation’s health care shift

Tommy Douglas, the person best associated with Medicare and a person voted the Greatest Canadian by CBC viewers in 2004, is the subject of a new stamp issue. As a young boy Douglas developed an infection that would have cost him his leg. He was able to receive medical treatment only after his father met a surgeon who agreed to treat him in order to teach students. Later in life he became a Baptist preacher in Weybourn, Sask. Always a believer in social activism, he also became involved in politics.

He became the first Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) member of Parliament. He resigned that seat after being elected head of the Saskatchewan CCF and led that party to victory in 1944. He returned to federal politics later in life, as head of the New Democratic Party. His efforts to lobby for universal accessible health care led to the passing of Saskatchewan’s Medical Care Insurance Act in 1962. The stamp is issued on the 50th anniversary of that landmark legislation.

Designed by Derwyn Goodall and illustrated by James Turner, the stamp uses a photograph taken by iconic photographer Yosuf Karsh. Lowe-Martin printed 1.6 million of the permanent-rate stamps, arranged in panes of 16 stamps separated with 13+ perforations. They are on Tullis Russell paper with general, four-side, tagging and PVA adhesive. The stamps were printed in seven-colour lithography plus varnish. The official first-day cover (OFDC) has a Weyburn cancel, dated June 29.

Coast-to-coast cities
Two Canadian cities have been honoured on commemorative covers, both using picture postage. One cover shows a scene of the town of Torbay, Nfld, which was officially settled in 1752 by Col. William Amhearst’s troops during the Seven Years War. The other cover marks the 150th anniversary of the City of Victoria, B.C. Taken from the water, the cover shows a night scene of the city, which was settled as Fort Victoria in 1843, but became an incorporated community in 1862. Both covers were designed by Canada Post staff. A total of 10,000 of each cover have been produced. In addition, Canada Post is selling sheets of 20 stamps and sheets of 40 of the stamps.

Second Zodiac series
Canada Post has also issued the second four stamps in the three-year Zodiac series. The stamps honour the signs of Leo, Virgo, Libra, and Scorpio. As with the four stamps issued last year, the 2012 signs have been designed by Paprika Design. The stamps are produced in booklets of 10, all of the same sign; souvenir sheets with one of each stamp, and a gutter product consisting of a sheet with four panes, each containing six of each stamp. The individual stamps are also available on an OFDC; the covers have a cancel in the form of the sign’s symbol, dated for the first day of the sign.

The towns selected for the cancels are puns on the signs themselves, including Lion’s Head, Ont., for Leo; Sainte-Marie (Beauce), Que., for Virgo; Justice, Man., for Libra; and Pincher Creek, Alta., for Scorpio. The series is designed so that all 12 OFCDs form the wheel of the Zodiac. Finally, each of the signs is also being issued as a prepaid postcard. All are permanent-rate stamps. The booklet versions are self-adhesive with simulated perforations while the souvenir sheets are PVA adhesive with 13+ perforations. All versions are produced using seven-colour lithography on Tullis Russell paper with general tagging. Lowe-Martin produced three million of each stamp, 175,000 souvenir sheets, and 4,000 gutter products.

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