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 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 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.