On today’s date in 1957, former prime minister Lester Bowles Pearson was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his creation of the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) in Egypt during the 1956 Suez Crisis.
Named after Swedish inventor of dynamite Alfred Nobel, the Nobel Prize has been awarded since 1901 for achievements in physics, chemistry, physiology, medicine, literature and peace. In 1968, a separate award for economics was created.
Pearson, who served as prime minister from 1963-68 and as leader of the Liberal Party from 1958-68, is the only Canadian to win the Nobel Peace Prize. By establishing the first UNEF (the second coming in the mid-to-late-1970s), Pearson helped secure an end to the Suez Crisis.
In 1973, Pearson was commemorated on a six-cent dark red stamp (Scott #591) issued by Canada’s Post Office Department (now Canada Post) as part of its Caricature Definitives series (SC #586-93a). Printed by the Canadian Bank Note Co., the stamp has general tagging along two opposite sides.
More recently, in 2000, Pearson was featured on a 46-cent stamp (SC #1825c) issued by Canada Post as part of its Millennium Collection. This stamp, which was printed by Ashton-Potter on Tullis Russell coated paper, was issued on a pane of four that celebrated Canadian humanitarians and peacekeepers (SC #1825). The pane also commemorated Raoul Dandurand (SC #1825a); Pauline Vanier, Red Cross and Elizabeth Smellie (SC #1825b); and Canada’s role in banning land mines (SC #1825d).
From Dec. 17, 1999 to March 17, 2000, Canada Post released 68 specially designed stamps as a series of 17 Millennium souvenir sheets, each depicting four different stamps.
“These bold 112-by-108 mm souvenir sheets frame four 36-by-48 mm stamps in thematic groupings that celebrate Canadian giants in fields as diverse as medicine, finance, peacekeeping and international development,” reads the promotional material released by Canada Post for this stamp issue.
“Lester B Pearson’s involvement in the creation of an international force to maintain peace in the Middle East during the Suez Crisis earned him a Nobel Peace Prize and highlighted Canada’s role as a global peacekeeper.”