Friday, August 30, 2013

Customized Postal Indicia

Postal indicia are markings on mail showing that postage has been prepaid by the sender. In May 2013, Canada Post offered its customers the opportunity to create simulated stamp "Customized Postal Indicia" which could be used for  "Addressed Admail", "Lettermail" and "Publication Mail" items. Examples of customized postal indicia are shown in this post.

Canada Post ad promoting "Customized Postal Indicia"


Received August 29, 2013

The Lung Association I

Received October 16, 2013

The Lung Association II

 Received November 22, 2013

Shoppers Drug Mart

Received December 7, 2013

The Retired Teachers Of Ontario (RTO)

Customized postal indicia can be used for "Addressed Admail", "Lettermail" and "Publication Mail" items. The RTO mailing shown below is an example of a  Publication Mail postal indicia.

Received, January 17, 2014

Canadian Wildlife Federation

Received March 11, 2014

Share Life

Received March 17, 2014



Sunday, August 25, 2013

North Bend Aerial Ferry

From 1940 to 1986,the only aerial automobile ferry in North America, the North Bend -Boston Bar Aerial Car Ferry, operated between the communities of  North Bend and Boston Bar located on opposite sides of the Fraser River in the  British Columbia Fraser Canyon region.

 Satellite view of North Bend and Boston Bar with Cog Harrington Bridge spanning the Fraser River

Prior to 1940, the only way to get directly from Boston Bar to North Bend was to cross the Fraser River by boat. The North Bend Aerial Ferry was opened in March, 1940, to transport vehicles and people more conveniently

A gondola car capable of holding a single motor vehicle or 40 passengers  was carried on two steel cables 1200 feet across the river.  In its years of operation from 1940 to 1986,  the North Bend Aerial Ferry carried 2,037,579 vehicles, 6,092,434 people and made 1,610,789 round trips. In 1986 the Cog Harrington Bridge replaced the Aerial Ferry because of increasing timber volumes and a higher demand for faster transportation.

 Cog Harrington Bridge spanning the Fraser River

Although the Aerial ferry is no longer in operation, the gondola has been restored and is on display  along the Trans-Canada highway in downtown Boston Bar.


 Restored Aerial Ferry

North Bend

North Bend was founded during the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the 1880s and was the site of various Canadian Pacific Railway company offices and housing. The town prospered until the era of highway travel, when it became isolated, connected to the Trans-Canada Highway only by the aerial cable ferry.

 A.A. Carlson

Almar Carlson operated general stores in North Bend and Boston Bar. His business stationery featured a lovely cachet of the aerial ferry.


 Calgary and Vancouver R.P.O., September 17, 1947


Calgary and Vancouver R.P.O., June 16, 1952


Vaan. & Wpg. RPO, 1955

Carlson Cachets


R.W. Franklin

North Bend to Waterloo, Iowa, April 10, 1957

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Scarce Centennial Rate

I've been collecting Centennial period postal history since the mid-70s and have found that some rates are particularly difficult to find but none more so than the 7 cent surface post card rate to non-preferred UPU destinations, a rate which was  effective from November 1, 1968 to June 30, 1971. After decades of searching I haven't seen a single example! And this was a rate that was in effect for over two years.

First let's look at post card rates during this period. The sender had a choice of air mail or surface mail conveyance. The air mail rate to all destinations was 10 cents and  there were  two surface letter rates, 6 cents and 7 cents depending upon the destination.

1. Air Mail to all destinations : 10 cents

Delta to Mali, September 26, 1969
10 cents international air mail post card rate

2. Surface

The surface rates were a only a few cents cheaper than the air mail rate. 

a) Preferred rate 

to Great Britain, the Commonwealth, the Republic of Ireland, France, Spain, and North and South America : 6 cents

 Kitchener to Lisburn, Northern Ireland, May 25, 1971
6 cents preferred surface post card rate to the United Kingdom

Surface post cards to preferred destinations are scarce.

 b) To all other counties : 7 cents

It isn't difficult to understand why the rate is challenging to find. Why would anyone send a post card by surface mail  when for an extra 3 cents the card could  zoom off to its destination. I suspect that people may have simply mailed the cards with the current 6 cent domestic rate stamps without giving the matter much thought.

So, what  happens when a rate collector can't find a rate? Apart from continuing the hunt, short paid and unpaid mail can be an acceptable substitute (at least for me).

Over the years I have been fortunate to locate the following shortpaid and unpaid surface post cards mailed during the 7 cent surface rate period, November 1, 1968 to June 30, 1971 :

 Niagara Falls to Warsaw, Poland, March 16, 1970
7 cent surface post card rate
6 cent stamp probably purchased from machine
Shortpaid 1 cent

Since the card was shortpaid 1 cent, the T 2/12 tax fraction was applied by the Canadian post office.

An explanation of the taxation system can be found HERE.

 Windsor to Athens, August 31, 1970
7 cents surface post card rate
Shortpaid 1 cent
 2/12 tax fraction

Toronto to Zagreb, Yugolavia, August 30, 1970
 7 cents surface post card rate
Shortpaid 1 cent
2/12 tax fraction
40 dinars  due

Powell River to Lausanne, Switzerland, May 17,  1971
 7 cents surface post card rate
2 / 12 tax fraction
Swiss tax 10 centimes             

Vancouver to Budapest, May 9, 1969
 7 cents surface post card rate
14/12 tax fraction
Hungarian due 2 ft.

I don't know if I will ever find a 7 cent surface post card rate, but I'll keep on looking. There has to be one out there somewhere!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Unissued 6 cent "Garden of the Provinces" Definitive Stamp

Canada Post Office issued a set of  definitives on February 8, 1967 honouring Canada's Centennial year. The designs of the 1 cent to 5 cent values represented the five major economic regions of the country. Canadian art was featured on the high value definitives.
Low-value Centennial definitives issued Feb. 8, 1967

When the domestic letter rate increased to 6 cents on November 1, 1968, a 6 cent stamp featuring modes of transport and communication was released.

The design was approved for engraving on November 3, 1967.

National Archives of Canada

6 cent "Garden of the Provinces" Essays

In addition to the "Transportation and Communication" essay, the Archives have essays of a 6 cent stamp featuring the "Garden of the Provinces". According to the Archives website, this was an unissued design for the Centennial  series and was created in 1965 or 1966.



[1965 or 1966]

The "Garden of the Provinces" stamp would have been a fitting subject to include in the Centennial series.It would be interesting to learn why it was never issued.

 Garden of the Provinces and Territories

Ottawa's Garden of the Provinces and Territories is a 4-acre modernist urban park located along Wellington St., a short distance west of the Parliament Buildings. The park, originally named the Garden of the Provinces, was designed by Don W. Graham and opened in 1962 with Canada's 1967 centennial year in mind. The park was renamed in 2005 to recognize and include Canada's three territories.

The park was officially opened on September 25, 1962, as a western gateway to the Parliament Buildings

One quarter of the site is composed of formal terraces, with the flags of the provinces and territories in the order of their entry to Confederation.  Bronze plaques include the floral emblems for each of the provinces and territories. The park includes substantial stone walls, stone paving, trees, flower beds, grassed areas and two fountains. A 6-metre (20 ft) tall fountain symbolizes a tree. A structure of concave concrete slabs portrays the Great lakes.

The 6-metre tall fountain symbolizes a tree

Concave concrete slabs represent the Great Lakes

The Garden of the Provinces and Territories is a popular site when filled with tulips, and other flowers, during the annual Tulip Festival.