Weeks before the cauldrons are lit for the 2018 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in South Korea, Canada Post unveiled five stamps honouring some of Canada’s most accomplished athletes.
Dubbed “Women in Winter Sports,” the new issue commemorates six female athletes across five Permanent stamps, including Sharon and Shirley Firth (cross-country skiing); Sonja Gaudet (wheelchair curling); Danielle Goyette (hockey); Nancy Greene (alpine skiing); and Clara Hughes (cycling and speed skating).
“Sport is a vital element of our cultural fabric. It has the power to build bridges between people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities,” said Carla Qualtrough, minister of public services and procurement, who’s also responsible for Canada Post.
“The women of these stamps have contributed to Canada beyond the medals they’ve won or the records they’ve broken. As a group, they have been champions of accessibility, community-builders and thought leaders.”
The athletes were honoured on Jan. 24 at Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in Canada Olympic Park, a hub of winter sport.
The Firths transformed Inuvik into a hotbed of Nordic skiing. They competed in four Olympic Games and four World Ski Championships and dominated their sport from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s, winning 79 medals at the national championships, including 48 national titles.
Shirley Firth, who passed away in 2013 at age 59, was represented by her husband, Jan Larsson, and daughters Marie and Nina Larsson.
Gaudet is the world’s most decorated wheelchair curler with three Paralympic gold medals and three World Wheelchair Curling Championships. A tireless advocate for accessibility, she is an ambassador with the Rick Hansen Foundation and the Paralympic Committee.
Goyette scored more than 100 career goals and dominated women’s hockey into her 40s. She won two Olympic gold medals, an Olympic silver medal and eight gold medals at the International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championships. She was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame last year.
Greene put Canada on the map in alpine skiing. She competed at Squaw Valley in 1960, Innsbruck in 1964 and Grenoble in 1968, winning gold and silver medals. Canada’s “Female Athlete of the 20th Century,” Greene won 17 Canadian titles, 13 World Cup victories and three U.S. Ski Championships.
Hughes is the only athlete in history to win multiple medals at both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. She made six Olympic appearances, winning six medals: one gold, one silver and four bronze – in cycling and speed skating.
“The women who share the podium in these stamps broke barriers, inspired generations and have contributed to our country’s national story both on and off of the ice and snow,” said Deepak Chopra, President and CEO of Canada Post. “They have been ambassadors for their sports, impressive role models and a great source of national pride.”
Designed by Roy White, Matthew Clark and Jacquie Shaw, of Vancouver’s Subplot Design, the stamps marry candid photos with action shots of the athletes. Each stamp – printed by Colour Innovations using seven-colour lithography – features a duo-tone portrait of the athlete in a moment of celebration as well as a full-colour, freeze-frame action shot representing a defining moment in her career.
According to White, who was the project’s creative director, the design team set out to create a look that “would celebrate the joy, endurance and dedication that has gone into their illustrious achievements over their careers.”
The stamps are available in panes of five as well as booklets of 10. Official first-day covers (OFDCs) were cancelled in Ottawa (Greene); Aklavik, Northwest Territories (Firth); Saint-Nazaire, Qué. (Goyette); Winnipeg, Man. (Hughes); and North Vancouver, B.C. (Gaudet).
BLACK HISTORY MONTH
On Feb. 1 – the first day of Black History Month – Canada Post also issued two new Permanent stamps to recognize the contributions of prominent, ground-breaking Black Canadians.
Designed by Winnipeg’s Tétro, both stamps evoke the personal strength of Kathleen (Kay) Livingstone (1918-1975) and Lincoln MacCauley Alexander (1922-2012) through historic photographs sourced from the Livingstone family; the Toronto Star; and the Hamilton Spectator.
“The images selected capture a moment that is both internally reflective and formidable,” said designer Paul Tétrault. “The gold metallic glow pays tribute to their visionary influence and trailblazing achievements.”
Each of the stamps were printed using six-colour lithography and measure 32 mm by 40 mm. They are available in booklets of 10 stamps. OFDCs were cancelled in London, Ont. (Livingstone) and Toronto (Alexander).
A long-time Toronto resident, Livingstone was an activist, humanitarian and popular radio host devoted to the empowerment of Black women. She founded the Canadian Negro Women’s Association in the 1950s, and in 1975, she launched the Congress of Black Women of Canada, which is now a nationwide organization. In 2011, she was named a Person of National Historic Significance by the Government of Canada.
“We are thrilled that people will learn not only about her efforts but also about the kind of person she was: a mother who served her family and a humanitarian who served her people, her city and her country,” said daughter Rene Livingstone. “She did it generously and she did it well.”
Born in Toronto, Alexander had a distinguished career as a public servant and became a leader in the fight for racial equality. He was the first Black Canadian to be elected to the House of Commons (1968), appointed to the federal Cabinet (1979) and named to a viceregal position in Canada as Lieutenant Governor of Ontario (1985).
He encouraged countless young people to pursue their dreams, often telling them, “I did it. You can. You will.”
THE WAR AMPS
A new commemorative envelope marking the centennial of The War Amps was also issued by Canada Post on Feb. 8.
Founded 100 years ago on the philosophy of amputees helping amputees, The War Amps continues to improve the lives of all, including children.
Since its launch in 1946, the Key Tag Service has returned more than 1.5 million sets of lost keys to their owners. The service also provides employment opportunities for amputees and people with disabilities.
The new envelope celebrates the charitable association with photos from the past and present. A timeline of The War Amps iconic Key Tag Service appears on the back. This commemorative envelope is cancelled in Ottawa, Ont. with a mark that includes The War Amps logo.
For more information, visit canadapost.ca.