OTD: Domestic-rate stamp marks B.C.’s 125th anniversary

On today’s date in 1996, Canada Post issued an “evocative” domestic-rate stamp (Scott #1613) to mark the 125th anniversary of British Columbia joining Confederation.

On July 20, 1871, British Columbia became Canada’s sixth province; however, this outcome was of no certainty throughout the preceding decade, during which time residents of the colony debated joining their U.S. trading partners or upholding colonial power.

“A promise by the Dominion Government to complete a transcontinental railway within ten years, however, did much to sway public opinion,” reads a press release issued by Canada Post in 1996.

“A century and a quarter later, what was once an extremely ‘British’ province is now a show-place of ethnic diversity and multi-culturalism. As Canada’s link to the nations of the Pacific Rim and chosen home for many Canadians looking for gentle weather, British Columbia has developed into a province of unique culture and achievement.”


Designed by Matthew Warburton, then of Vancouver’s Herrainco Design Associates, the stamp features a silhouetted collage of elements important to the history and development of the province.

“We used quintessential B.C. colours,” said Warburton. “The stamp has a lot of the deep blues and mauves you see in a West Coast sunset.”

The Pacific Ocean’s blue waters serve as a landing for Haida canoes at the coastal village of Skidegate as it appeared at the time of Confederation. Totems stand before a darkened night skyline of modern Vancouver and forests of Douglas fir and cedar stretch towards the sky.

The design was based on an illustration by Jeff Burgess and photographs by George Dawson; Roy Hamaguchi; Koos Dykstra; and Dave Watters. The stamp was printed by Ashton-Potter.

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