OTD: Post Office Department issues five-cent ‘Common Loon’

On today’s date in 1957, coinciding with National Wildlife Week, Canada’s Post Office Department (now Canada Post) issued a five-cent stamp depicting the common loon (Gavia immer) as part of its National Wildlife series.

“By issuing this postage stamp, the Post Office Department wishes to assist those private, provincial and federal Government Agencies striving to increase interest in the importance of securing and restoring the wildlife resources of Canada,” reads the department’s 1957 press release. “These resources are of considerable economic value, and a constant source of pleasure to thousands in every walk of life.”

The stamp (Scott #369) was designed by English-born artist and filmmaker Laurence Hyde, who’s remembered for his 30-year career with the National Film Board of Canada as much as he’s remembered for his philatelic designs.

Hyde, then a resident of Montreal, designed eight stamps for the Post Office Department between 1954 and 1957.

HYDE STAMPS: 1954-57

In a span of three years, Laurence Hyde designed eight stamps for Canada’s Post Office Department. In addition to the five-cent common loon stamp of 1957, he produced:

  • a 15-cent airmail stamp depicting a gannet in 1954 (SC #343);
  • a five-cent stamp marking the 50th anniversary of Alberta and Saskatchewan joining the Canadian Confederation in 1955 (SC #355);
  • a five-cent stamp commemorating the Eighth World Scout Jamboree, held in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.—the first jamboree hosted outside of Europe—in 1955 (SC #356); and lastly,
  • a series of five-cent stamps celebrating Canadian recreational activities, including fishing; swimming; hunting; and skiing in 1957 (SC #365, #366, #367 and #368, respectively).

The loon, as well as the lettering on the five-cent stamp, were engraved by John F. Mash. A total of 51,000,000 stamps were printed by the Canadian Bank Note Company.

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