OTD: Canada Post honours former governor general Ray Hnatyshyn

On today’s date in 2004, Canada Post honoured former Governor General Ramon John Hnatyshyn.

In 2004, Hnatyshyn—Canada’s 24th governor general, serving from 1990-95—was featured on a domestic-rate commemorative stamp (then 49 cents). Designed by Susan Mavor and based on a photograph by Paul Chiasson, the stamp (Scott #2024) symbolizes Hnatyshyn’s joyful, human qualities with a photograph that’s likely familiar to some Canadians. Taken on the day Hnatyshyn assumed the office of governor-general, the photo appeared again when his death was announced in December 2002. The photograph’s strong vertical lines and wide borders enhance the stamp’s vertical orientation.

“The cropping is unusual, too,” said Alain Leduc, stamp design manager at Canada Post. “Parts of the photograph reach outside the frame, into the margins, emphasizing the sense of movement, and of individuality.”

An official first-day cover was cancelled in Ottawa.

The stamp was issued on what would have been Hnatyshyn’s 70th birthday. The lawyer and politician was the son of a senator and grandson of Ukrainian immigrants. He was a Progressive Conservative member of the House of Commons from 1974-88, serving as energy minister as well as justice minister before being appointed governor general in 1990.

An official first-day cover was also cancelled in Ottawa.

STAMP SPECIFICATIONS

  • Denomination: 1 x 49 cents
  • Design: Susan Mavor
  • Dimensions: 24 mm x 38 mm (vertical)
  • Gum Type: P.V.A.
  • Paper Type: Tullis Russell Coatings
  • Perforations: 13+
  • Photography: CP/PC (Paul Chiasson)
  • Printer: Lowe-Martin
  • Printing Process: Lithography in four colours plus two special metallic
  • Tagging: General, all sides
  • Quantity: 2,500,000

SUPPORT OF CANADIAN ARTS & CULTURE

Hnatyshyn is famously remembered for re-opening the grounds of Rideau Hall to the public. He supported the arts and education, establishing several awards and scholarships. In 1992, he organized what aired on television as His Excellency’s Most Excellent Rock Concert.

“Virtually each day I have the great honour to experience a deep sense of pride in the excellence of our people and the magnificence of our country,” Hnatyshyn said in a 1991 speech.

He died on Dec. 18, 2002, at age 68.

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