Canadian stamp collecting has been favored by philatelists through out the years. Canada’s postal history not only defines North American philately, it also traces its roots to France and Great Britain.
From definitive stamps, commemorative stamps, and covers, Canada’s postal service presents an interesting multitude of philatelic items.
The Canadian postal history
From 1534 onwards, when France occupied Canada, there was no operating postal route. The French Canadian territories had their first postal service in 1721 but it was only limited to Quebec and Montreal.
Soon after Britain took over Hudson’s Bay and Nova Scotia in 1713, the Canadian British colonies were under London’s General Post Office. However, the Canadians wanted to have an independent control over their postal services. By 1851, Canada broke away from the British postal service and the first Canadian postage stamp was born.
The first Canadian stamp was called the Three penny Beaver. Wildlife stamp collectors consider it the first postage stamp that depicted a country’s local fauna. The other British colonies, New Brunswick and Newfoundland, also issued their own postage stamps.
The history of the Canada Post started under the Confederation of Canada. By that time, stamp issues throughout the provinces were unified and postal rates were regulated. The Canada Post Corporation charged mail by weight rather than by piece. This was a concept influenced by Rowland Hill, the maker of the first postage stamp.
Collectible Canadian stamps
Canadian Small Queens postage stamps
The Small Queens issue was printed by the British American Bank Note Company from 1870 to 1897.
Its reduced size allowed more stamps to be engraved on the printing plates and also sped up the production.
This series of stamps spans more than 25 years and were printed at different locations. Because of this, the stamps had subtle differences that collectors should be aware of before designating them.
Canadian perfin stamps
Canadian perfins are special postage stamps perforated with initials or other distinguishing marks.
Canadian perfin postage stamps were used to discourage stamp reuse and postage stamp theft.
Perfin stamps in Canada were either officially issued by the government or by private firms.
Each Canadian province had a perfin with its initials. However, the introduction of postal meters replaced the use of perfin postal stamps.
Canadian commemorative stamps
Canada has released plenty of commemorative stamps in the previous years.
In 1971, they issued the Confederation golden jubilee stamp which they reissued again after a decade to mark its 60th commemorative year.
Other famous Canadian commemorative postage stamps are the 1938 Memorial Chamber stamps and the 1975 Royal Canadian Legion 50th anniversary stamp.
Canadian admiral stamps
The Canadian admiral stamps are a series of postage stamp issues by the British Commonwealth countries.
Other countries that issued the admiral postal stamps were Rhodesia and New Zealand.
The admiral stamps of Canada were printed between 1911 and 1928.
They are often called the Canadian Georgian issue because they had a portrait of King George on the stamp design. There are stamp collectors who specialize in Georgian admiral stamps.
Canadian art postage stamps
Canada has long recognized the contribution of visual artists by issuing art on stamps.
Impressionist painter Marc Aurele de Foy Suzor-Cote was honored with a Canadian postage stamp depicting his painting Return from the Harvest Field.
Other notable paintings reproduced on Canadian art stamps are Emily Carr’s Big Raven, Paul Kane’s Indian Encampment on Lake Huron, and Tom Thomson’s April in Algonquin Park.
Canadian war stamps
Canadian war tax stamps were issued in March 1915 as a form of a revenue stamp to finance the government’s expenses during World War I.
The first Canadian war stamp had an effigy of King George V and a description “war tax”. It was available in 1 cents and 2 cents denominations.
In modern times, Canadian war stamps are mainly commemorative issues. There are Canadian postage stamps in honor of the individuals who fought during the Canadian American War of 1812.
The Canadian Remembrance Day stamps eternalize the soldiers who died in battle during the two World Wars and the Korean War.
Sponsored stamps of Canada
In 1990, the Canada Post became controversial when they introduced sponsored Canadian postage stamps to increase income
McDonalds was one of the first companies to have their logo appear on Canadian stamps.
Walt Disney commemorated its 25th anniversary with a stamp sheet.
Canadian sponsored postage stamps are available in souvenir pages and stamp booklets.
Where to buy Canadian stamps?
There are many ways to purchase postage stamps. Canada Post makes Canadian stamp collecting a breeze since you can order their wide range of philatelic products online. They can ship your purchase to anywhere in the world.
If you happen to be in Canada, another good alternative is to visit stamp dealers. This is perhaps the best way to look for Canadian postage stamps since philatelic dealers pre-sort their collecting according to stamps by country. This also where you can get the best deals for Canadian first day covers and other postal collectibles.
Visiting Canadian stamp exhibitions and other philatelic events is also a good venue to buy stamps. If you want to start stamp collecting but you have no idea how and where to begin, the Canadian stamp community can give you expert tips.
Canadian philately is easy once you have the right knowledge on its postal history. Reading Canadian stamp collecting books is a good way to start. Scanning through one-country stamp catalogues helps you get acquainted with the valuable Canadian postage stamps.