A Guide to Women in Canadian History
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Canada Post Corporation, on the advice of its Stamp Advisory Committee, is responsible for determining the images on the stamps which it issues each year. The Province of Canada first began producing postage stamps in 1851, but for the next hundred years the only images of women to appear on Canadian stamps were those of royalty.
In 1955 a woman shows up in a pioneer scene commemorating the creation of the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.Then in 1957 a series of outdoor recreation features one stamp with a female swimmer. It was only in 1958 that a stamp was printed with a graphic which focused on women in Canadian history. The July 30, 1958 stamp relating to health shows a picture of a female nurse, with the caption “Health Guards the Nation”.
The commemoration of the history of Canadian women by recognition on the stamps of the nation has been slowly increasing with the passage of time. In the sixties there were just three closely linked with the history of girls and women, then nine in the seventies, 14 in the eighties, and 29 in the nineteen nineties. I'll soon be adding images of all these stamps to this page.
Canada Post issued many fine stamps of Canadian heroines in 1999 as part of The Millennium Collection - including tributes to Portia White, Maude Abbott, the Famous Five, Pauline Vanier/Elizabeth L. Smellie, Hilda Marion Neatby, Dr. Lucille Teasdale, Les Hospitalières de Quebec and Medicare, Rose-Anna Vachon and Dorothy Johnson Killam (and her husband).
We can hope that subsequent issues of stamps will commemorate Canadian women and their important roles in the history of the country. You can help encourage this recognition by submitting suggestions to the Canada Post Corporation, which invites ideas from all Canadians. They prefer to receive suggestions about two years before the beginning of the requested year of issue, as when a stamp is issued for an anniversary, etc.
A brochure called Corporate Policy on the Selection of Postage Stamp Subjects and Designs explains the criteria for selection. You can request a copy from the address below, or check the link re stamp colleciton policy.
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