Canada Post today unveiled a stamp honouring Serge Chapleau, the editorial cartoonist at La Presse, a French-language newspaper based in Montréal, and a true pioneer of his profession.
The first to be honoured in a five-stamp set commemorating Canada’s greatest editorial cartoonists, Chapleau has drawn inspiration from prominent European cartoonists and is known for his unique style and high-precision work. From his very first drawing, a portrait of singer Gilles Vigneault published in Perspectives magazine in March 1972, Chapleau became an overnight sensation and quickly established himself as one of the top cartoonists in the Montréal press. After working for various publications, including Le Devoir, L’actualité and 7 jours, he became the staff cartoonist for the French daily La Presse in 1996—a position he holds to this day.
Through more than 7,000 drawings over the past 50 years, Chapleau has made people laugh and think by conveying the zeitgeist in a single image. In 1982, as a true pioneer of his profession, he became the first cartoonist to bring his characters to life on television. First with rubber puppets and then graphic animations, his famous character Gérard D. Laflaque captivated audiences. Radio-Canada aired nearly 500 episodes of shows Et Dieu créa… Laflaque and then ICI Laflaque.
The winner of a record eight National Newspaper Awards (in the “Editorial Cartooning” category), Chapleau has published L’année Chapleau, a yearly collection of his best press drawings, since 1993. When he was named a Member of the Order of Canada in 2015, he was recognized as “one of Canada’s most innovative and respected cartoonists” and a pioneer for creating animated cartoons for TV.
‘WE LOVE YOU’
The Chapleau stamp features his 1995 cartoon, “We love you – Pas cette fois-ci j’ai mal à la tête!”
The French text reads, “Not now, I have a headache!”
Chapleau drew it in the final days of the 1995 Québec referendum campaign, in which the federalists organized a huge rally “We love you” rally in Montréal.
“Among those in attendance were Jean Chrétien, Jean Charest and Daniel Johnson. To ensure that many people from other provinces would be at the Montréal rally, organizers even chartered planes and buses, complete with discounted tickets for those willing to travel to Montréal,” reads a citation by the McCord Museum, where the cartoon is held. “That move was bitterly criticized by sovereignists.”
The other four stamps in the editorial cartoonists set will pay tribute to:
- Brian Gable (the Globe and Mail, to be unveiled Oct. 5);
- Terry Mosher (Montreal Gazette, Oct. 6);
- Duncan Macpherson (Toronto Star, Oct. 7); and
- Bruce MacKinnon (the Chronicle Herald, Oct. 8).
A live panel discussion with the cartoonists and Ian Macpherson, Duncan’s son, will be held online on Oct. 8 at 11 a.m. (ET). Register for the webcast here.
The editorial cartoonist stamps and collectibles will be available via canadapost.ca and postal outlets across Canada on Oct. 8.