Organization: Canada Post
Raymond Bellemare (Stamps)
Tom Bjarnason (Booklet covers)
Maple Leaf: Raymond Bellemare (Design)
Queen Elizabeth II:
Heather Cooper (Design)
Jaroslav Huta (Sculpture)
Street Scene: Tom Bjarnason
Maple Leaf, Queen Elizabeth II, Street Scene
The maple leaf symbolizes Canada. People began to make this association very early in the country’s history. Early travellers admired the bright colours of maple leaves in autumn, and in the spring delighted in maple syrup, which the Indians introduced to the Europeans.
In 1805 a newspaper called the Quebec Gazette described the maple leaf as the symbol of French Canadians. A year later Le Canadien spoke of it as an emblem for Canada as a whole. In 1821 the maple leaf’s prime competitor, the beaver, suffered a major setback as a national symbol. The Hudson’s Bay Company, operating from Hudson Bay, and the North West Company, based in Montreal, had long fought for control of the fur trade. In 1821 the Hudson’s Bay Company absorbed its rival and consolidated operations on Hudson Bay. Thus, for the first time since the sixteenth century, what was then known as Canada ceased to be the hub of the traffic in beaver skins, and the beaver lost significance as a national emblem. In 1834 the St. Jean Baptiste Society of Lower Canada adopted the maple leaf as its emblem. Upper Canada accepted the maple leaf more slowly; nevertheless, in 1847 the Reverend John McCaul of Toronto called it “the chosen emblem of Canada”. In 1860 citizens of Toronto displayed maple leaves to greet the Prince of Wales. In 1867 Alexander Muir composed “The Maple Leaf Forever”, and in 1868 maple leaves appeared on the coats of arms of Ontario and Quebec. To represent their nationality, Canadian soldiers in both world wars displayed the maple leaf. It gained ultimate sanction as a national symbol when it became the central element in the design of our national flag, proclaimed in 1965. This maple leaf stamp was designed by Raymond Bellemare of Montreal.
Queen Elizabeth II
This is the latest in a long series of Canadian stamps featuring the sovereign. Although the very first Canadian stamp was the famous Threepenny Beaver of 1851, the second and third postage stamps, issued the same year, portrayed Prince Albert and Queen Victoria respectively. Queen Elizabeth II first appeared on a definitive stamp in 1953 following her accession to the throne in 1952.
Fourth in the present medium-value series, the new 60-cent stamp depicts a street scene in an Ontario city. The previous stamps showed street scenes in a town on the Prairies, a city in Quebec, and a city on the Atlantic coast.
Tom Bjarnason of Toronto designed this stamp with the delicate line work of the illustration in steel engraving on a background of colour lithography.
The physical version of this product is part of the federal identity archive.