Monique Mercure, Québec’s ‘grande dame,’ on new stamp

Quebec’s ‘grande dame’ of stage and screen appeared in more than 80 films, TV productions

Canada Post today issued a commemorative stamp celebrating Monique Mercure, Quebec’s grande dame of stage and screen.

Known for her fiery spirit, versatility and powerful performances, Mercure was one of Canada’s most beloved and acclaimed actresses. She died in May 2020 at age 89.

“We’ve lost a great Canadian actress,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted following Mercure’s death. “Monique Mercure has had a profound impact on generations of Canadians. She helped promote Quebec cinema beyond our borders and her legacy will live on through her work.”

Mercure began her acting career in the early 1960s at the theatre and made her film debut in 1963 in Claude Jutra’s À tout prendre. This kicked off a six-decade career in which she became a household name in Québec while performing in more than 100 classical and contemporary plays across North America and Europe plus more than 80 films and TV productions.

Some of her most popular films were Mon oncle Antoine (1971), J.A. Martin photographe (1977), which earned Mercure Canada’s first Festival de Cannes award for best actress, Naked Lunch (1991) and The Red Violin (1998). She also appeared as a regular in the popular French-language TV series Providence (2005-11) and Mémoires vives (2013-16).

Throughout her career, Mercure received several top awards and honours, including two Genie Awards, two Prix Gémeaux, the Prix Denise-Pelletier, the Prix Gascon-Roux from the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde and a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement.

She was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1979 and promoted to Companion in 1993. Mercure was also named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a Grand Officer of the Ordre national du Québec.

Mercure joins several peers from the performing community also honoured by Canada Post—including Fay Wray, Mary Pickford and Christopher Plummer.

1963 PHOTO

The new stamp features an illustration by Oriana Fenwich based on a photograph of Monique Mercure taken in 1963 by Henri Paul and provided by Radio-Canada Archives.

Toronto’s Colour Innovations printed the stamp, which was designed by Underline Studio. Serviced with a cancellation from Montréal, the issue includes a booklet of six Permanent domestic-rate stamps, a pane of six stamps and an official first-day cover.

The stamp and collectibles are available for pre-order at starting today, Nov. 10, and will be available for purchase at post offices starting on Nov. 14.

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