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Canada Gets Its First Stamp

Today is the 169th anniversary of Canada’s first postage stamp—the Three-Penny Beaver. Designed by Sandford Fleming, it was the world’s first pictorial stamp that did not feature the image of a monarch or a statesman.

Scottish-born Canadian Sir Sandford Fleming was a railway surveyor, construction engineer, inventor and scientist. He was the man who gave us time zones.

Fleming chose the beaver for Canada’s first stamp because it evoked Canada’s beginnings as a fur trading empire. The beaver’s industriousness, tenacity and building skills represented a young nation that was building its future.

We’re still a young nation and we’re still building. Go Canada!

Canada’s first postage stamp was launched on April 23, 1851. Three-Penny Beavers were issued in blocks of four, which postmasters cut as needed. Canadian Museum of History collection (CMH, 2003.56.1, IMG2009-0063- 0009-Dm). Image used with permission.

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