Bluenose is 100 – a stamp celebration

Bluenose is 100 – a stamp celebration

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 - the Bluenose is 100

Bluenose Schooner in full sail. Photo 1921 Photographer: MacAskill, Wallace R., 1893-1956 courtesy Archives / Collections and Fonds

The original stamp 1929

High quality photo of 1929 Bluenose stamp

Bluenose Schooner – January 1929 | [Bluenose] [graphic material] / Based on photographs by W.R. MacAskill – Library and Archives Canada (
High quality photo. Click on stamp to see details

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.

Stamp essay showing bluenose, engraved border and black and white photo in middle

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

Original Bluenose stamp on a modern stamp

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.

Canadian Centennial log showing stylized multicoloured maple leaf

Designed by Stuart Bradley Ash

1988 Bluenose and Captain Walters

1988 stamp showing 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.

1998 Roué and Bluenose stamp

Bluenose designer Roue and Bluenose

Roue and Bluenose 1998

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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Find out more about Canada’s 2021 stamp issues:

Awesome 2021 Canadian stamps announced

Awesome 2021 Canadian stamps announced

Awesome 2021 Canadian stamps announced

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.

UPDATED Jan. 07, 2021. Canada Post has started issuing the 2021 stamps. The original article on the topics starts below the list. Purchase stamps here: Latest stamps | New in store | Canada Post

2021 Canadian stamps January

2021 Canadian stamps Canada Post's Lunar New Year stamps

Lunar New Year cycle wraps up

Lunar New Year Cycle

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

2021 Canadian stamps Scan of Canada 2021 Lunar New Year Stamps showing 12 years worth of stamps

Canada 2021 Lunar New Year Stamps

Full souvenir sheet

Canada Post stamps Feb. 2021 two black history month stamps

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


Image of the stamp booklet for Black History month 2021 Canadian Stamps

2 booklets to be issued

Two separate booklets issued
FDC for Amber Valley was founded around 1910

Amber Valley

Willow Grove was founded in 1817 by a group of Black refugees from the War of 1812 (most formerly enslaved in the United States).

Willow Grove

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.

It’s hard to imagine a world without insulin, but the discovery is only 100 years old. Read more on it here 100 Years of Insulin: Accelerating Canadian Discoveries to Defeat Diabetes. Previous stamps highlighting insulin included the 50th anniversary issue 1971, 1990 physician’s series, and 1999 millennium issue.

And the beloved Bluenose!

Scan of Bluenose 1929 stamp. Look for it on 2021 Canadian stamps

1929 Bluenose stamp from writer’s collection

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.
  • a stamp honouring the Canada Post Community Foundation, which supports a number of schools, charities, and children’s organizations.
  • Eid, Diwali, and Hanukkah stamps.
  • 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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