Updated: Feb 14/05

Press Release

February 16, 2001

On April 23, 1851, the Province of Canada, which then included Upper and Lower Canada (Ontario and Quebec) issued what is recognized as Canada's first postage stamp. Since then, the Three Penny Beaver on laid paper has had a durable history.

On April 6, 2001, Canada Post Corporation will re-issue the 'beaver' as a stamp-on-a-stamp to commemorate the 150th anniversary of adhesive postage in Canada. The official launch of the new stamp will take place on the first day of The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada annual convention – ROYALE * 2001 * ROYAL - at Dorval (Montreal), Quebec.

Having an opportunity to play a role in the launch, RPSC president Charles J.G. Verge said "this will be a momentous occasion." The RPSC has already noted the significance of the return of the 'beaver' with a special thematic wrapper on its bi-monthly journal The Canadian Philatelist.

Verge, who is a strong supporter of Canada's stamp program, also said new RPSC letterhead stationery "will stress the anniversary throughout 2001." He suggested the Dorval convention "will be a great opportunity for collectors to get special first day covers and other items relating to the anniversary of a great stamp." He added "Canada, has a great tradition as a stamp-issuing nation, and it all began with the Three Penny Beaver."

Canada's first stamp was designed by Sir Sandford Fleming when the Post Office Act of 1850 moved responsibility for the post office to what was then referred to as the Canadian Provincial Government effective April 6, 1851. Charles Verge points to the significance of the April date. "Although the commemorative anniversary stamp is not being issued to coincide with the date of issue of the 'beaver', it does come out on an historic date for our post office."

Fleming's 'beaver' design was also used on the 1852 three penny stamp on wove paper, the 1858 three penny issue, and the five cent stamp in the first cents issue released in July 1859. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of stamps in Canada, the post office issued the first Three Penny beaver stamp-on-a-stamp. It was the 15-cent denomination among four stamps to honour the stamp centenary and CAPEX, Canada's first international philatelic exhibition.

The 'beaver' again became a stamp-on-a-stamp in 1982 as part of a five-stamp issue for Canada 82, the international youth exhibition held in Toronto May 200-24 that year.

As the 'beaver' comes around one more time, Charles Verge and The RPSC are taking steps to "make it a major postal event" in Canada. "We deserve to have our first stamp commemorated this way."

Verge informed the press The RPSC is leading a consortium of philatelic organizations and the Canadian Postal Museum in offering a 150th birthday party to Canada Post." That event will be staged in Ottawa at the annual BNAPEX, the annual convention of the British North American Philatelic Society (BNAPS) August 30-September 2.

The RPSC website can be found at www.rpsc.org. Further information on membership may be obtained from Andrew Parr, Executive Director, P.O. Box 929, Station Q, Toronto, ON M4T 2P1.


Michael O. Nowlan 506-357-2698
Carol S. Law 416-979-8874

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