Stamp Stories
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Stamp Stories

Celebrating Canadians in Space

Originally this episode aired November 13th 2016. Prior name of the Podcast was Tea with Puppets.

In Episode 6, we celebrate the stamps created to honour Canada’s contribution to space exploration.

The first stamp to honour Canadian space achievement was one that celebrated the Alouette II Satellite. It was released 5 January 1966 to honour the second Canadian Satellite ever launched into space.

Title: Alouette II
Denomination: 5¢
Date of Issue: 5 January 1966

The next stamp related to Canadians in space took almost two decades and celebrates the debut of the first Canadian astronaut in space Marc Garneau with took place on 5 October 1984. 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.

Title: Canadians in Space
Denomination: 32¢
Date of Issue: 15 March 1985

In 1986, a set of Canadian technical achievement stamps. The there were two released related to space exploration. The first featured the Canadarm also known as the shuttle Remote Manipulator System.

Title: Canadarm
Denomination: 34¢
Date of Issue: 27 June 1986

The other stamp in this issue depicts the g-suit, which is widely used by pilots and astronauts to protect against blackouts.

Title: Anti-Gravity Flight Suit
Denomination: 34¢
Date of Issue: 27 June 1986

Six years later, Canada Post was back with another pair of stamps celebrating Canadians in space. They are two 42-cent stamps issued October 1st, 1992 . One stamp showed the Anik E2 communications satellite, and the other stamp was a stamp of the Space Shuttle above Canadian airspace.

Title: Satellite
Denomination: 42¢
Date of Issue: 1 October 1992
Title: Space Shuttle
Denomination: 42¢
Date of Issue: 1 October 1992

These are also the first hologram stamp in Canadian history. There are also several varieties/errors of this stamp that are of significant value.

Only a couple of years later, in February 1996, Canada Post issued a stamp honouring Aerospace Technology and several leading companies in the industry.

This aerospace stamp highlights three major products of the industry: propulsion systems, integrated aircraft design and manufacturing, and avionics. The stars allude to space-related projects like satellites. The left side of this stamp features a photograph of the blade of the PW305 turbofan engine manufactured by Pratt & Whitney Canada for medium-sized jet aircraft. The aircraft shown on the stamp is a Canadair Challenger 601–3R. The right side features an avionic screen display created by Canadian Marconi Company specifically for the stamp.

Title: Aerospace Technology
Denomination: 45¢
Date of Issue: 15 February 1996

The next stamps issued to celebrate Canada’s involvement in Space technology, came in the massively popular Millennium collection. The first stamp released that year was in March 2000 to honour the Canadian Space Program. It was part of the thematic grouping celebrating Engineering and Technological Marvels.

Title: Canadian Space Program
Denomination: 46¢
Date of Issue: 17 March 2000

The stamp depicts several of Canada’s launched satellites and such technological innovations as the Canadarm, used aboard many US shuttle missions and the Mobile Servicing System for the International Space Station.

The other two stamps were from a content where Canada Post asked young Canadians to envision the future of their country. On July 1, Canada Day 2000, Canada Post issued four domestic-rate stamps bearing the winning entries. Two stamps focused on Canada space.

Title: Two Space Travellers, one White, one Black, Seated Side-by-side in a Space Vehicle, Flashing the Peace Sign
Denomination: 46¢
Date of Issue: 1 July 2000

The winning entry in the 8–9 year old category was a stamp done by Rosalie Anne Nardelli of Montreal, Quebec. It was called “Astronauts in Space, a Rainbow and a Canadian Flag” As the young artist explained at the time the astronauts have rosy cheeks because “it means they’re happy and it could be that they’re healthy and that Canada is healthy.”

Title: Astronauts in Space, a Rainbow and a Canadian Flag
Denomination: 46¢
Date of Issue: 1 July 2000

For the winning entry in the 10–12 year-old category was done by Andrew Wright of Collingwood, Ontario. It was entitled :”Two Space Travellers, one White, one Black, Seated Side-by-side in a Space Vehicle, Flashing the Peace Sign”. Andrew, the young artist noted about his illustration : “I hope to see in the next millennium that the world will become colour-blind.”

The final issue we spoke about is an amazing October 2003 issue honouring true Canadian space heroes. It honoured the eight Canadian astronauts who have flown in space. It was available on a sheet of eight self-adhesive stamps that included holographic stamping and micro-embossing.

The 48-cent stamps represent missions flown on NASA space shuttles by Canadian astronauts Marc Garneau, Roberta Bondar, Steve MacLean, Chris Hadfield, Robert Thirsk, Bjarni Tryggvason, Dave Williams and Julie Payette.

The eight stamps were designed by Pierre-Yves Pelletier in spherical shapes that call to mind the path of an orbit. The twinkling star is an image found on the Canadian Space Agency’s logo; it represents a productive, energy-producing star, believed to have influence over human destiny.

Each stamp portrays an astronaut and illustrates a highlight of his or her mission, and the back of the stamp pane provides brief descriptions. The bottom of the pane illustrates the “Canadian space handshake” of 2001, when the Canadarm2 on the International Space Station transferred its launching cradle to the Canadarm on the shuttle Endeavour, with astronaut Chris Hadfield at the controls.

One other interesting fact is that the astronaut set also broke Canada’s traditional prohibition on stamps of living persons outside of the Royal family. A rule which has since been officially lifted.

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