By Jesse Robitaille
In the latest issue of Canada Post’s Details magazine, the Crown corporation offered a sneak peek at some of the subjects to be featured in next year’s stamp program.
The 2022 program is slated to begin with a Black History Month issue featuring Eleanor Collins, Canada’s “first lady of jazz” and a living legend at age 101.
“The singer, television host and entertainer was born in Edmonton on Nov. 21, 1919 – part of the movement of black homesteaders who migrated from Oklahoma and settled on the prairies,” Roshini Nair reported for CBC News on Nov. 21, 2019, the day Collins became a centenarian.
“I still believe in chasing dreams and placing bets, but I have learned that all you give is all you get,” Collins told CBC from her home in Surrey, B.C., where she lives independently. “There’s life after 100 … I want to give it all I’ve got.”
A member of the Order of Canada since 2014, Collins was inducted into the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame in 1992. She has also received several lifetime achievement awards, the first of which – the City of Vancouver’s Centennial Distinguished Pioneer Award – came in 1986.
Next year, Canada Post’s annual “Flowers” issue – a yearly harbinger of spring – will feature graceful callas, commonly called calla lilies despite not belonging to the lily family.
While Canada Post issued a three-stamp definitive set featuring lily flowers in December 2004, its “Flowers” series only started in earnest the following March with a set of daffodil stamps. These springtime issues have continued since then, but Canada Post only named the series in 2007, following the success of the 2005-06 releases.
Before 2005’s commemorative issue and 2004’s definitive set, orchid stamps were issued in April 1999, roses were issued in August 2001 and tulips bloomed in May 2002.
THE FOOT GUARDS
The first commemorative envelope of 2022 will celebrate the centennial of the Governor General’s Foot Guards (GGFG), Canada’s senior reserve infantry regiment.
Established on June 7, 1872, and located at Ottawa’s Cartier Square Drill Hall, the GGFG is a reserve unit comprised of part-time soldiers, including 250 officers and non-commissioned members and four companies, a band plus the ceremonial guard. The four companies are divided by function, with two rifle companies, a training company and a support company.
“The Foot Guards have been a fixture in the national capital for over 145 years providing a functional and ceremonial presence throughout the Ottawa area,” reads the GGFG website.
The regiment’s past domestic operations include the 1998 ice storm that hit parts of eastern Ontario and southern Québec, where the unit was deployed to assist in the recovery.
“It also involves training for international operations and support to the Regular Force in countries such as Haiti, Afghanistan and Sudan, where troops from our regiment have deployed in recent years,” adds the GGFG website.
LATER IN 2022
Later next year, Canada Post will issue a second set of five stamps from the “Canadians in Flight” series, which was launched in 2019.
The Crown corporation will also “encourage Canadians to help save lives with a stamp on organ and tissue donation,” according to a statement in the latest issue of Details.
Canada Post will also honour three Indigenous leaders “devoted to protecting the rights and cultures of their people.”
In mid-2022, the Crown corporation will issue a set featuring endangered whales.
To avoid the extinction of whales travelling through some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, the federal government in late February announced updated measures to further reduce risks to black whales in national waters.
Another mid-year issue will commemorate “colourful, whimsical vintage carousels.”
“In the case of historic carousels, Canada may appear at the end of the lists, but in many cases, they deserve to be at the top,” reads a 2015 post on the Carousel History website. “Not only do they retain and maintain some of the greatest American carousels of all time, in many cases, the ‘Great Canadian Carousels’ have enjoyed extended longevity at their current site.”
The Lakeside Park Carousel in St. Catharines, Ont., is one of about 350 antique hand-carved carousels still operating in North America – and one of just nine in Canada. It was moved there from a Toronto park, on the opposite side of Lake Ontario, in 1921.
Canada Post will also issue five stamps showcasing vintage travel posters, a subject postponed since 2020 due to COVID-19, next year.
CAPEX 22, HOCKEY & REMEMBRANCE
While the recent “Bluenose 100” set features a CAPEX 22 overprint, Canada Post will also issue “other collectibles and a special souvenir sheet just in time for CAPEX 22.”
The country’s fifth international philatelic exhibition, CAPEX 22 comes to the downtown Metro Toronto Convention Centre on June 9-12, 2022.
Later in the year, Canada Post will honour award-winning jazz, blues and R&B singer Salome Bey, who inspired generations of young Black performers.
Born in Newark, N.J., Bey first performed in Toronto in 1961 before settling there three years later, when she started playing the local jazz club circuit. Considered Canada’s “first lady of blues,” she died last August at age 86. The Grammy-nominated multi-disciplinary performer was also an honorary member of the Order of Canada.
As part of the 2022 stamp program, Canada Post will also issue another ice hockey set, which follows last year’s “Colored Hockey Championship” release (for readers who are unaware, Canada Post used the correct contemporary spelling of the league’s name). Next year’s set will mark the 50th anniversary of the 1972 Summit Series, an eight-game competition between the national hockey teams of Canada and the Soviet Union.
In the series’ eighth and deciding game in Moscow, Canada’s Paul Henderson scored a dramatic game-winning goal in the final seconds of the third period to give his team the victory.
In 2017, as part of Canada Post’s “Canada 150” set, members of the 1972 Canadian team unveiled a stamp and official first-day cover honouring the Summit Series, a seminal moment in both Canadian and hockey history.
“Both teams won in 1972,” Vladislav Tretiak, now the president of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation, told TSN in 2012, for the series’ 40th anniversary. “It was a great series for all of hockey. The best that Russia had and the best of the NHL. The winner was the game of hockey.”
Near next year’s Remembrance Day, Canada Post will issue a stamp honouring Tommy Prince, the country’s most decorated Indigenous war veteran and one of its most decorated non-commissioned officers. Prince was awarded 11 medals in the Second World War and the Korean War but died homeless in Manitoba – his home province – after spending his final years living in a Salvation Army shelter, Laura Neilson Bonikowsky wrote for the Canadian Encyclopedia. At his 1977 funeral, Prince was honoured by his First Nation (now known as Brokenhead Ojibway Nation) plus the governments of Manitoba, Canada, France, Italy and the United States.
Prince was also a survivor of the residential “school” system, which came under increased fire this year after more than 1,000 unmarked graves were found at several of the former “schools,” the last of which closed in 1996. Prince was forced to attend Manitoba’s Elkhorn residential “school” beginning at age five.
The final releases of the 2022 stamp program include the usual end-of-year issues commemorating Eid, Diwali, Hanukkah and Christmas, including a three-stamp holiday issue “that’s, quite frankly, for the birds,” according to Details.