OTD: Canada Post honours former Governor General Ray Hnatyshyn

On today’s date in 2004, Canada Post honoured former Governor-General Ramon John Hnatyshyn on a domestic-rate commemorative stamp.

Canada’s 24th governor-general, Hnatyshyn served in that role from 1990-95 before being featured on a 49-cent stamp (Scott #2024) designed by Susan Mavor. Based on a photograph by Paul Chiasson, the stamp 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.”

The stamp was issued on what would have been Hnatyshyn’s 70th birthday.

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

An official first-day cover issued for the 2004 Hnatyshyn stamp features an Ottawa cancel.


Hnatyshyn is famously remembered for re-opening the grounds of Rideau Hall to the public.

He also 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.

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 the energy minister as well as justice minister before being appointed as governor-general in 1990.

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

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