Canada’s beloved Bluenose is 100 years old this March and of course, we’ll celebrate with a new stamp. The Bluenose issue will likely be unveiled in Feb, with a release date in March.
Designed to be both a fishing boat and a racing schooner, the Bluenose excelled in both roles. It was the first boat designed by Halifax born W. J. Roué who became known as Canada’s premier naval architect. He designed over 200 vessels, including yachts, barges, ferries, freighters, and schooners.
The Bluenose, manned by its fishing crew and captained by Angus J. Walters, raced the best in the world. In its 17 years, the “queen of the North Atlantic” was beaten just once.
Bluenose Schooner in full sail. Photo 1921 Photographer: MacAskill, Wallace R., 1893-1956 courtesy Archives / Collections and Fonds
This stamp is instantly recognizable around the world. I remember when I acquired mine nearly 20 years ago. I still get excited every time I think back to that day. The ’29 Bluenose is one of those stamps every young Canadian collector dreams of owning. It’s a thing of beauty, in both subject and design. The level of detail in this small rectangle is staggering. Engraved by American Bank Note Company, New York City, the stamp was based on photos by Nova Scotian photographer Wallace R. MacAskill.
The stamp above is a high-quality photograph that will allow you zoom in and see the stunning detailed work. From a design standpoint, this is as close to perfect as you can get.
Bluenose specimen stamp 1928
Buried in the Canadian archives was this specimen. I have to say, I’m not sure which I prefer. The contrast of the deep blue and grey/black engraving is breathtaking. The use of grey/black gives the stamp a sense of photo-realism. It would be interesting to know why all blue was picked.
Bluenose stamp 1982
Stamp on a stamp
The International Philatelic Youth Exhibition in 1982 featured this stamp-on-stamp commemorative. This issue, part of a set showing classic Canadian stamps, was designed by Stuart Bradley Ash of the design firm Gottschalk+Ash . Ash was a legend in the design industry and was the man behind Canada’s centennial logo in 1967.
Designed by Stuart Bradley Ash
1988 Bluenose and Captain Walters
1988 Bluenose and Captain Walters
1988 finally saw Captain Walters honoured with a stamp. This one, designed by Roger Hill, doesn’t excite me; I find it bland. Given the thrill of captaining the schooner, I had hoped for a more vibrant addition to the Bluenose family. I confess, I still haven’t picked it up for my collection. It’s a sound design, just lacks a sense of vigour.
The original stamp made a return in 1998 to honour Roué. Graphic designer Louis C. Hébert did an excellent job blending the classic engraving with a lithograph portrait of Roué.
Bluenose is 100 – the latest
This space is reserved for the new issue. As yet, it’s unknown who the designer is, or what the stamp will look like. I’m a bit torn. I’m fond of the 1929 version but after seeing it in 3 stamps to date, I’m hoping for something fresh. We’ll know soon.
Stamp design TBA
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Canada Post has released topics for their 2021 Canadian stamps, with some exciting 100th anniversary celebrations in the mix. The list is an interesting selection of Canadian achievements and multicultural events.
List of 2021 Canadian stamp issues
the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin.
five mammals that turn white in winter.
two legends of Canadian ballet.
the 100th anniversary of the launch of the legendary schooner Bluenose.
the three First World War heroes from Winnipeg’s Valour Road.
12 Lunar New Year stamps. Booklets, uncut press sheets, souvenir sheet, framed pane.
Completion of current Lunar New Year series that started in 2009. Each design is based on a previously released stamp.
Designer: Paprika Design Previously designed stamps include 2018 QEII, and 2017 Formula 1 Drivers.
Release date: January 15, 2021
Canada 2021 Lunar New Year Stamps
Full souvenir sheet
Celebrating black settlements in Willow Grove NB and Amber Valley, Alberta
Black History Month
Two stamps celebrating two communities settled by Black Americans in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Amber Valley, Alberta & Willow Grove, NB.
The residents of Willow Grove and Amber Valley faced the challenges of poor farming land and harsh weather conditions. They also faced continued prejudice and discrimination, including from local and federal governments. Despite the hostility of their environments, these communities grew, and their descendants have enriched Canadian society and culture. Black History Month | Canada Post
Two stamps in this series Permanent stamps, souvenir sheets, FDC
Special cancels from Athabasca AB
Designer: Lime Design Previously designed includes 2018 Canadian Illustrators, 2012 Guardian of English Bay Joe Fortes, 2011 Black History Month featuring Fergie Jenkins,
Release date: January 22, 2021
2 booklets to be issued
Two separate booklets issued
FDC Amber Valley was founded around 1910
FDC Willow Grove was founded in 1817 by a group of Black refugees from the War of 1812 (most formerly enslaved in the United States).
2021 Canadian stamps February
What are your picks?
I’m not sure which of Canada’s ballet legends will be honoured but I’m betting it’ll be Rex Harrington and Evelyn Hart. I’m not a major fan of ballet, so I’m likely off on these picks, but with Canada’s rich ballet history and there are lots of choices.
The mammals of winter will be fun. My picks are the artic hare, arctic fox, Peary caribou, arctic wolf, and harp seal.
The Bluenose has appeared on 4 Canadian stamps, 1929, 1982, 1988 and 1998. The classic 1929 issue appeared on the 82 and 98 stamps. It’s hard to beat the iconic 1929 issue for power and grace. Of all the new releases, this one creates the greatest interest. I’d love to see a photo of the Bluenose incorporated into the design this time around.
The Valour Road stamps will honour 3 WW1 Canadian soldiers who lived on the same street in Winnipeg. Corporal Leo Clarke, Sergeant-Major Frederick William Hall, and Lieutenant Robert Shankland each won the Victoria Cross, prompting Pine Street to be renamed Valour Road in 1925.
Reoccurring themes for 2021 Canadian stamps
As expected, Canada Post will highlight several popular themes used in past years.
spring flower stamps this year will be crab-apples blossoms.
the Chinese Lunar New Year will feature a multi-stamp look at past issues in the series.
Black History Month will honour pioneering settlements in Amber Valley, Alberta, and Willow Grove, New Brunswick.
and of course, the yearly Christmas stamps which will have an angel and some as yet unannounced, classic Christmas characters.
Lots to look forward to in the new year. I’m eager to see who the designers are as well. I started a small database tracking modern designer and their stamps. If I ever complete it, I’ll share it, but don’t hold your breath. So many stamps to write about, so little time to spare.
What are your choices? Leave them in the comments below.
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