Organization: Canada Post
Products: Poster, Publication
Year: 1985

Designer: Les Holloway, Gottschalk + Ash International

Product copy

Canadians in space

The space debut of the first Canadian astronaut took place on 5 October 1984. The United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) had invited Canada to send an astronaut on the American space shuttle’s mission 41-G as a cooperative venture in space exploration between the two countries.

Northern lights, satellites, and the Canadarm

The Canadian Space Program began in the 1950’s. Its goals, through the use of satellites, are to improve communications, to study the Far North, and to develop the Canadian aerospace industry. At the time, the “northern lights” were bright wonders, romantic but unexplained. Balloons and probes were used in an effort to understand these nocturnal electromagnetic phenomena. In 1962, Canada launched Alouette, an atmospheric observation satellite, into orbit. It was followed by the ISIS, HERMES, and ANIK series. In 1976, NASA ordered a remote-controlled arm for its space shuttle from the National Research Council (NRC). The Canadarm, easily capable of grasping and manipulating satellites, passed its first space test in 1981.

Canadian astronauts

In December 1983, the NRC chose six persons for the first team of Canadian astronauts from more than 4300 candidates who had entered a national competition for the positions. The team members are Roberta Bondar, Marc Garneau, Steve MacLean, Kenneth Money, Robert Thirsk, and Bjarni Tryggvason. Marc Garneau, an electronic engineer and naval commander, undertook the first mission. During his eight-day voyage in space as a payload specialist, he carried out several experiments that were divided into three main categories: space technology, space sciences, and life sciences. Two other missions are forecast for the Canadian Astronaut Program in 1986.

Stamp design

The stamp is the work of Les Holloway of the design company Gottschalk + Ash International. It features the earth as seen from space, with the silhouette of a Canadian astronaut in the foreground. To the right of the astronaut, one of the space shuttle’s instrument panels can be seen.

Every time a stamp is issued, you can buy Official First Day Covers (OFDC), specially designed envelopes bearing the new stamp(s) and a CPC first day of issue cancellation (postmark). OFDCS have a cachet on the front and their reverse side features informative background text. A popular collecting interest, OFDCS cost only 20¢ plus affixed postage and can be purchased at Philatelic Centres or by mail through the Philatelic Service in Antigonish. You can also have personal, self-addressed First Day Covers (FDC) cancelled on the first day of issue by sending you FDC to the Philatelic Service in Antigonish well before the first day of issue. We’ll affix and cancel the stamp(s) for you for a fee of only 15¢ plus affixed postage, and then return the personal FDC to you by mail.

When you purchase by mail, send a cheque or money order payable to Canada Post Corporation along with your requirements, if you live in Canada or the United States. Customers living elsewhere may remit payment by international money order of bank draft in Canadian or U.S. funds. If you’re a Collectors’ Subscription Service (CSS) Customer, you do not need to send a payment nor order forms except for purchase over and above your standing order. For more information on becoming a Collectors’ Subscription Service customer, or to have your name added to our mailing list to receive stamp bulletins and other customer information, please write to the Philatelic Service, Canada Post Corporation, National Philatelic Centre, ANTIGONISH, N.S. B2G 2R8 Canada.

A special souvenir honouring Canadians in space

We’re proud to offer you a truly fascinating collectible… the Canadians In Space Maximum Card. It reproduces one of the colour photographs shot by Marc Garneau while in space and bears an affixed and cancelled stamp. The reverse side of the 148 mm x 105 mm card features informative text about the photograph of Eastern Canada’s coastline along with an explanatory map. You’ll want this historic souvenir for yourself and for all the space adventur- ers you know. Maximum Card…. *plus applicable sales tax, at your provincial rate .$1.00*


Stamp: Canadian Astronauts
Denomination: 32¢
Date of Issue: 15 March 1985
Last Day of Sale: 14 September 1985 (as stock allows)
Design: Gottschalk + Ash International
Printer: Ashton-Potter Limited, Toronto
Quantity: 18,000,000
Dimensions: 30 mm x 36 mm (vertical).
Perforation: 13+
Gum Type: PVA
Paper type: Coated one side, litho (Harrison)
Printing Process: Lithography in six colours
Pane Layout: 50 stamps
Plate Inscription: In the side margins facing in at the four corners:
Design: Gottschalk + Ash International
Tagging: All general tagged
Copyright: ©1985. These stamps are protected by Canadian copyright laws and international copyright convention.


The physical version of these products are part of the federal identity archive.