By Jesse Robitaille
Canada Post fulfilled the latest chapter in a long tradition on June 7 with the issue of a single stamp commemorating former prime minister John Turner, who died last September.
Chosen by Turner’s family, the stamp’s design shows the former leader in a different light – as an enthusiastic outdoorsman – with him at the helm during a 1985 sailing trip through Haida Gwaii, an archipelago off British Columbia’s west coast.
His Montréal Gazette obituary recalls Turner sharing a memory on his 77th birthday about being “out on the water” for 70 summers.
“Starting with summer camp at age seven, he took his final run, mobility waning and cane in hand, for a canoe trip in Algonquin Park in his 77th year. John canoed all over Canada including epic trips with his family and great friend Bob Engle into the waterways of the Northwest Territories,” added his obituary.
As an accomplished sprinter, he “narrowly missed his chance to compete at the 1948 Olympics,” according to a CBC News obituary. While he set a national record for the 100-yard dash a year earlier, he later dropped out after “smashing his knee in a car accident.”
Due to COVID-19, a small, invite-only state funeral was held for Turner on Oct. 6 in Toronto, where mourners remembered his integrity, humility and grace.
CBC also reported daughter Elizabeth Turner, one of his four children, spoke at the funeral about her father’s love for the outdoors and nature, adding when people complained about the weather, he would ask, “Are you a Canadian or a tourist?”