Sunday, March 23, 2014

Millennium 4 - Tom Longboat


In 1999, Maclean's, Canada's national weekly news magazine, proclaimed  Tom Longboat  (1887-1944) as  the top Canadian sports figure of the 20th century.  Longboat, an Aboriginal-Canadian from the Six Nations Grand River Reserve near Brantford, Ontario was the greatest long-distance runner of the pre-WW I era and and perhaps of all time. In 1907, he shattered the Boston Marathon record by 5 minutes, winning the event in 2 hours 24 minutes 24 seconds, a time that still would rank him among the top world marathoners. His Boston Marathon time is emblazoned across the Tom Longboat Millennium stamp.

 Longboat enlisted in the army in 1916 and was a dispatch runner on the battlefields of France. He was mistakenly reported dead twice, and upon his return to Canada in 1919 discovered that his wife had remarried. After the war he lived in obscurity working for the City of Toronto until 1944, when he retired to the Six Nations Reserve. It was only after his death that his remarkable achievements were re-discovered. Longboat was  inducted posthumously into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 1955.

More information on this amazing athlete can be found at these links:

Veterans Affairs Canada, Tom Longboat Canadian Soldier Olympian
Canadian Encyclopedia, Tom Longboat
Globe and Mail, Longboat's Legacy
Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, Tom Longboat


 Plaque on the Six Nations reserve of the Grand River Iroquois

The Millennium Stamp

1.  Millennium Collection Album

The Tom Longboat stamp was one of 68 Millennium stamps first issued in a hardbound book, Canada Post The Millennium Collection : Expressions of a People, on September 15, 1999. The stamps were printed two to a page.

 The Pontiac and Tom Longboat stamps were printed on the same page.

2. Millennium Collection Souvenir Sheet

Canada Post Corporation re-issued the Millennium stamps in panes of 4 stamps issued over a three month period from December 17, 1999 to March 17, 2000. The souvenir sheet with the Tom Longbow stamp was released on February 17, 2000.

Millennium Stamp Collection

1. WikipediaCanada Post Millennium Stamps
(This site describes the stamps and provides links to article dealing with each subject.)

2. Postal History Corner articles:
4. Tom Longboat
5. Inuit Shaman
6. Healing From Within

In 1998, as one century was about to end and another begin, Maclean's magazine ran a list of the 100 most important Canadians in history, dividing them into 10 categories, with 10 names in each category. In the Stars category, reserved for the best in celebrity the country has had to offer, the number one spot went to Tom Longboat. And in the list of the top 10 Canadians in history overall, Longboat came in ninth spot, sharing the list with the likes of William Lyon Mackenzie King, Glenn Gould, Nellie McClung and K.C. Irving. - See more at: