The Philatelic Specialists Society of Canada (PSSC) has released an extensive new book highlighting the past 150 years since Canadian Confederation. Entitled 151 Personal Views of Canada, A Philatelic Sesquicentennial Project, the new book features 151 views of Canada across 151 pages, each of which represents one year since the creation of the Dominion of Canada in 1867 (with the exclusion of 2017, which is featured on two pages). There is also a listing of contributors – 52 PSSC members altogether – and a subject index.
“It is an eclectic collection of Canadian personal history; artistic achievements; sports; royalty; politics and government; disasters; astronomy and space exploration; wars; shipping; airmail; music; and many more subjects, all depicted by stamps or postal history,” said PSSC President Ingo Nessel.
“It will appeal not only to stamp collectors, but to anyone interested in those subjects and their stories told through philatelic artifacts. There is some very rare and valuable material, and also some very common items. Together, they constitute a snapshot of Canada’s diversity over the years of Confederation.”
A STORIED HISTORY
One of the earlier pages, this for 1879, details Sir Sandford Fleming’s proposal of the 24 time zones.
“On February 8, 1879, he presents a paper to the Royal Canadian Institute in Toronto proposing that the world be divided into 24 time zones,” reads a portion of the page, which was produced by PSSC member Michel Houde.
The page also features images of three stamps (including Canada’s first postage stamp, the 1851 three-penny beaver, which Fleming designed) as well as a first-day cover related to the iconic Scottish-Canadian.
Another 19th-century page, this for 1894, details Massey Music Hall, which is described as “Canada’s oldest and most highly regarded concert hall. It is also a national historic site.” The page also includes an image of a postcard featuring Massey Music Hall as well as a 46-cent stamp issued in 2000 (Scott #1830a) that depicts Hart Massey, the hall’s founder.
CHRISTMAS SEALS & AIRMAIL
Canada’s first Christmas seals are also highlighted on the page for 1908, which was when Canada began selling Christmas seals in an effort to combat tuberculosis. The page also includes images of two covers that feature the country’s first Christmas seals tied and used contrary to the Post Office Department’s regulations, which “clearly stated the seals were to be placed on the back of the envelope,” wrote PSSC member Robert Vogel.
Another 20th-century page, this for 1928, explores the beginning of airmail services in Canada.
“On October 1st, 1928, air mail services were inaugurated between Toronto and Montreal, and between Montreal and the U.S.A.,” wrote Chris Hargreaves, who’s also the editor of The Canadian Aerophilatelist, the quarterly journal of The Canadian Aerophilatelic Society.
The page also includes images of two commemorative cachets that have since become “a significant part of aerophilately,” Hargreaves added.
In 1949, Newfoundland entered the Canadian Confederation as the country’s 10th province. This iconic event is commemorated on that year’s page, which also includes an image of the first-day cover featuring Joey Smallwood, who served as premier of Newfoundland and “played an influential role when the Referendum took place with him leading the Confederation camp.”
More recently, the page for 2016 details The Tragically Hip’s final cross-country tour, which was held shortly after singer Gord Downie was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive, inoperable form of brain cancer. The page includes an image of the first-day cover issued in 2013 as part of the series honouring Canadian recording artists.