OTD: Post office marks centennial of BNA postal administration

On today’s date in 1951, Canada’s Post Office Department issued four stamps (Scott #311-314) to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the transfer of postal services from Great Britain to British North America.

The three low denominations (SC #311-313) emphasize the development of communications by land, water, and air, each of which are closely related to the development of postal services in Canada. The series’ fourth stamp (SC #314) features the first postage stamp issued in 1851 by the Province of Canada, the three-pence beaver (SC #1).

The series’ first day of issue coincided with a stamp exhibition called Capex¬†(Canadian Association for Philatelic Exhibitions). Each of the four stamps in this issue was printed by the Canadian Bank Note Company and designed by Herman Herbert Schwartz.

The five-cent denomination (SC #312) featured

The five-cent denomination (SC #312) featured

The four-cent stamp (SC #311) displays trains from 1851 and 1951, respectively. The lower portion features an old-fashioned wood-burning steam-engine and train. The modern train in the upper half of this stamp is a composite picture of two Canadian trains: one being the first streamlined diesel electric locomotive manufactured in Canada at the Montreal Locomotive Works in April 1950, and the other being a train in regular passenger service in 1951 on the Canadian Pacific Railway between Montreal and Vermont. This stamp had a print run of 49,750,000.

The five-cent stamp (SC #312) displays the City of Toronto, a side-paddle wheel steamship, based on an original drawing by G. A. Cuthbertson. This steamship, built in present-day Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., sailed from Lake Ontario to Prescott on the St. Lawrence River. In the upper half of this stamp is a reproduction of the Canadian National Steamship, Prince George, which was built in Victoria, B.C. and operated at the time of issue from Vancouver to Alaska. This stamp had a print run of 5,050,000.

The seven-cent stamp (SC #313) depicts

The seven-cent stamp (SC #313) shows a stagecoach passing a hotel in present-day Toronto.

The seven-cent stamp (SC #313) depicts a stagecoach passing Jordan’s York Hotel on King Street East in present-day Toronto. In 1814, the Legislature met in this hotel after invading U.S. forces destroyed the government buildings the previous year. The stamp’s upper half features a 1951-type Canadian-built North Star plane in the service of Trans-Canada Airlines. This stamp had a print run of 19,900,000.

The 15-cent stamp (SC #314) is a reproduction of the 1851 three-pence beaver stamp designed by Sir Sandford Fleming. This was the first 15-cent denomination issued since 1908. It was believed this high denomination would be convenient for customers who wished to pre-pay the postage on airmail letters to Europe. This stamp had a print run of 54,035,000.

The 15-cent denomination (SC #314) was the first 15-cent stamp to be issued by Canada since 1908.

The 15-cent denomination (SC #314) was the first 15-cent stamp to be issued by Canada since 1908.

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