Throughout 36 days this spring, Canada Post unveiled its highly anticipated 10-stamp set of commemoratives to mark the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation.
Each of the 10 maple-leaf shaped die-cut Permanent domestic-rate stamps commemorates an iconic moment in the country’s past 50 years (since 1967). Each stamp measures 40 mm x 40 mm and was printed in six colours plus tagging. The self-adhesive stamps are available in booklets of 10 stamps (for a total of four million stamps) or gummed panes of 10 stamps with circle perforations 4.5 cm in diameter (for a total of 80,000 panes). Two of the stamps – the ones celebrating marriage equality and the creation of Nunavut, respectively – are also available as booklets of eight stamps.
Official first-day covers – one for each stamp design and each cancelled in Ottawa – are also available in packs of 10 covers (with a total of 10,000 packs). The entire Canada 150 series was designed by Roy White and Liz Wurzinger, of Subplot Design in Vancouver, B.C., and printed by the Lowe-Martin Group. It’s now available for purchase online and in post offices across the country.
STAMP No. 1: EXPO 67
The first Canada 150 stamp, this in commemoration of Expo 67, was unveiled on April 27 at Montréal’s iconic Habitat 67 by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie, designer of the revolutionary modular housing complex. With Habitat 67, Safdie—then a bold, brash yet brilliant young architect on the verge of launching a significant global career—captured an era of optimism, energy and progress. The project also launched his career, which would see him design prestigious buildings around the world, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Quebec Museum of Civilization, Marina Bay Sands in Singapore and the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C.
Beginning with his architectural thesis at McGill University in 1964 and the pioneering housing complex Habitat 67 in Montréal, Safdie’s design philosophy has been consistently responsive to local historic, cultural, and environmental contexts. With his global firm, Safdie Architects, notable projects include the National Gallery of Canada; Marina Bay Sands in Singapore; Khalsa Heritage Centre in Punjab, India; and the United States Institute of Peace headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Safdie is a recipient of the Companion of the Order of Canada, the Gold Medal from both the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and the American Institute of Architects, la Médaille du Mérite from the Order of Architects of Québec, and the Cooper Hewitt National Design Awards 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award.
STAMP No. 2: THE CONSTITUTION ACT
On May 3, the second of 10 Canada 150 stamps was unveiled in honour of the proclamation of the Constitution Act on April 17, 1982.
The proclamation by Queen Elizabeth II signified a symbolic step in Canada’s independence as a nation. While giving Canada full control over future constitutional amendments, the act also embodies the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees essential rights and freedoms for citizens and others who live in Canada.
STAMP No. 3: THE CANADARM
On May 4, Canadian Space Agency astronaut Jeremy Hansen unveiled the third Canada 150 stamp, this in celebration of Canada’s most famous robotics accomplishment—the Canadarm.
Hansen was on-site at Glen Ames Senior Public School to unveil the stamp and meet with Grade 7 and 8 students from the school’s robotics club as they prepared to travel to California to compete in an international robotics competition. Students competing were tasked to design, build and program a robot made entirely of Lego to solve a real-world problem. The team came up with the PetPortion, a robot that manages a pet’s weight by automatically giving it the proper amount of food based on its weight and level of daily exercise.
Hansen also addressed the entire school and encouraged the next generation of Canadian innovators to pursue education in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
STAMP No. 4: MARRIAGE EQUALITY
On May 9, the fourth stamp of the Canada 150 program was unveiled in celebration of the 2005 passing of the Civil Marriage Act, the federal legislation that made marriage equality the law across Canada.
That year, Canada became the fourth country in the world and the first outside of Europe to extend marriage equality to its citizens.
The unveiling was held at The 519 on 519 Church St. The new stamp depicts a section of a rainbow flag, which is a familiar symbol of pride for the LGBTQ2S (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Two Spirit) community.
With support growing, more than 20 countries have legalized same-sex marriage on the national level around the world; however, for many in the LGBTQ community, the conversation around and the fight for equality continues today.
STAMP No. 5: TRANS-CANADA HIGHWAY
Country music star Dean Brody, who was in town for a stop on his cross-country Beautiful Freakshow tour, participated in the unveiling, which was held at Brandt Customer Support Centre. Madeline Merlo—the opening act on the Beautiful Freakshow tour—also attended the unveiling.
“I’m just really excited to be a part of this. I’m a proud Canadian,” said Brody at the May 16 unveiling, adding he lived abroad for six years. “It took—for me, anyways—going away and coming back to really appreciate my country, and one of the big things was the highway. As soon as I crossed from Maine into New Brunswick, it was like, ‘Man, I’m home.’ There was something special about that road—that road taking me ultimately to my physical home. I’m really happy to be involved in this campaign. It’s an exciting time to be involved in Canadian history, so thank you for that.”
The stamp displays the familiar Trans-Canada Highway white-on-green maple leaf route markers.
STAMP No. 6: TERRY FOX’S MARATHON OF HOPE
On May 25, the sixth Canada 150 stamp was unveiled in St. John’s, N.L. in commemoration of Terry Fox’s 5,373-kilometre Marathon of Hope. This stamp was unveiled with the help of Fox’s sister, Judith, near the iconic “Mile 0,” where the Marathon of Hope began on April 12, 1980, when Fox dipped his artificial right leg into the Atlantic Ocean. Children from Roncalli Elementary in St. John’s also participated in the May 25 unveiling with a display of posters showing how Fox has inspired them to achieve their goals.
STAMP No. 7: CREATION OF NUNAVUT
On May 30, the seventh Canada 150 stamp was issued in honour of the 1999 creation of the territory of Nunavut as well as the people who call it home.
Nunavut Premier Peter Taptuna and Commissioner of Nunavut Nellie Kusugak unveiled the stamp at the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut on 926 Federal Rd. in Iqaluit, about 2,000 kilometres north of Ottawa. Iqaluit is the capital of Canada’s newest territory—and its largest at more than two million square kilometres.
“It gave us hope for Inuit and people of the territory that there’s a vision and purpose going forward,” said Taptuna, about the 1999 creation of Nunavut. “It gave us some security, a sense of security that we’re in charge of our own destiny.”
This stamp features an image of Leah Ejangiaq Kines, photographed by her spouse Clare Kines, both of whom are residents of Arctic Bay, Nunavut.
STAMP No. 8: 1972 SUMMIT SERIES & TEAM CANADA
On May 31, the eighth stamp of the set was unveiled by players from the 1972 Team Canada that defeated the Soviet Union in the iconic Summit Series.
Participating in the unveiling were Pat Stapleton, chair of the board of Team Canada 1972; Bobby Clarke; Yvan Cournoyer; Pete Mahovlich; Frank Mahovlich; Eddie Johnston; Brad Park; Wayne Cashman; and Jean Ratelle. Sean Goldsworthy (representing his father Bill Goldsworthy) and John Ferguson Jr. (representing his father John Ferguson) also participated with Colonel Andy Cook, 17 Wing Winnipeg Commander.
“After 27-and-a-half years in the RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force), today is the highlight of my service,” said Cook, adding he was seven years old when he watched the series’ final game on TV at elementary school. “You guys were true heroes and you took it to the Russians, and you beat them—and we’re so proud. We’re here to celebrate the victory you gave us and the intense pride you gave us, and we’re here to celebrate Canada 150 at the same time.”
STAMP No. 9 & 10: PARALYMPIC & OLYMPIC SPIRIT
Yesterday, the final two Canada 150 stamps were unveiled by Canadian Paralympic and Olympic greats in honour of Canada’s athletes and the country’s success in hosting the Paralympic and Olympic Games.
The Olympic and Paralympic Games held in Canada inspired a nation, left an indelible mark on our country, and showcased Canada to the world. They produced iconic Canadian moments and influenced generations of current, former and up-and-coming Olympians. Thousands of Canadians participated in the Olympic and Paralympic torch relays that toured through communities across Canada, allowing people of all ages and athletic abilities to have their own special Games moment.
For more information, visit canadapost.ca/canada150.