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Canadian stamps and the Canadian postal system date back to the period when Canada was a French colony. Government dispatches and private letters during that time were carried by boat on the river between different outposts. The towns of Montreal and Quebec were linked with a regular postal system in 1734, when they became accessible by road.
When the British took control of Montreal in 1760, a military postal system was established that sent mail from Canadian soil to Albany in New York. Canadian stamps came into force in 1849, when the Legislative Assembly of Canada adopted the use of stamps for letters and other mail throughout Canada. Postage stamps in Canada made their appearance soon thereafter and the first stamp featured a beaver, an indigenous Canadian mammal.
The paper used for the earliest Canadian stamps was laid paper, with a ribbed texture. As this paper did not adhere well to envelopes, later stamps were printed on wove paper, which has a uniform surface and can be easily glued to envelopes. Perforations on stamps only appeared in 1858, more than eight years after postage stamps had been introduced in Canada.
British Monarchy On Canadian Stamps
The British monarchy featured prominently on Canadian stamps since the Dominion of Canada, made up of various Canadian provinces, became a colony of Britain on July 1, 1867. Queen Victoria in profile was dominant on the stamps which had face values ranging from ½ cent to 15 cents. King Edward VII featured on Canadian stamps after his accession where he is seen wearing State Robes. When King George V succeeded the late King Edward, he was depicted as an Admiral of the Fleet. This stamp was produced in 1911.
When King George VI, father of the present Queen Elizabeth II, ascended the British throne on 11 December 1936, commemorative Canadian stamps were issued featuring the new King. As the Commonwealth plunged into the Second World War, Canadian stamps depicted the King in various uniformed services. Queen Elizabeth II succeeded her father in 1952 at the young age of 26 and stamps of the new Queen were widely issued in Canada marking this historic event.
Canadian stamps have evolved from French colonial times to present times, which have featured many British monarchs on the stamps. Stamps from Canada symbolize the country’s unique heritage.