Saturday, March 31, 2012

Centennial Era Perfins
1967 - 1973

At least 15 different companies and provincial governments and agencies perforated initials through their stamps (perfins) for security purposes during the Centennial period. This post shows a few Centennial era perfins.

Perfin Users

Canadian General Electric Company
International Harvester Company of Canada
Consolidated Mining & Smelting Company of Canada
Canadian National Railways
Canadian Pacific
Canadian Westinghouse
Great Northern Railway
Legislative Assembly (Ontario)
Mutual Life Assurance Company of Canada
Metropolitan Life Insurance Company
New York Life Insurance Co.
Province of Saskatchewan
Swift Canadian Co. Ltd.
Steel Company of Canada
Workmen's Compensation Board of B.C.

(Reference : Centennial Definitive Series 1967 - 73)

Canadian National Railways

The CN logo created in 1960 was described as
an icon by media analyst Marshall McLuhan.

Edmonton local mail, December 11, 1967
4 cent (February 8, 1967 issue)

Edmonton, June 25, 1969
BABN 12 1/2 x 12 sheet stamp

Edmonton, March 19, 1970
BABN 12 1/2 x 12 sheet stamp

Edmonton, July 18, 1972

Canadian Pacific

Winnipeg Tag

Preston, June 12, 1968

Thunder Bay to Aylmer, April 7, 1971
4 cents perfin (Not CP correspondence)

Penetanguishene, August 12, 1970
BABN 12 1/2 x 12 sheet stamp

Great Northern Railway

Province of Saskatchewan

Swift Canadian Co. Ltd.

Workmen's Compensation Board of B.C.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

M./S. "Gripsholm":
WWII Repatriation Ship

M./S. "Gripsholm" was an ocean liner built in 1925 for the Swedish American Line for use in trans-atlantic crossings from Goteborg, Sweden, to New York City. From 1927 onwards she was also used as a cruise ship.

The "Gripsholm" in New York pre-WWII

During WWII, "Gripsholm" was chartered by the U.S. State Department and used as an exchange and repatriation ship under the protection of the Red Cross. In May 1942, she made her first repatriation voyage from New York to Goa in order to leave Japanese diplomats and embark American prisoners of war. "Gripsholm" made 12 round trips to other parts of the world, carrying over 27,000 passengers until 1946 when she was returned to the Swedish American line.

"Gripsholm" as an exchange/ repatriation ship during WWII

Two "Gripsholm" related covers are shown in this post showing her different roles.

1. Cruise Ship : 1939 Around South America Cruise

From January to March 1939, "Gripsholm" sailed around South America and up the Amazon. The souvenir cover shown below was mailed from Valparaiso, Chile, on February 17, 1939.

2. Repatriation Ship : 1943 letter to passenger on "Gripsholm"

The second cover was mailed in October, 1943, from Ocean Falls, B.C., to Mrs. S.V. Logan, passenger on "Gripsholm", c/o Canadian Minister, Canadian Legation, Rio de Janiero, Brazil.

70 cents paying the one oz. air mail rate to Brazil
(No markings on the back of the envelope)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

United Nations Evacuation Center:
Tubabao, Philippines

1949 - 1951

In 1949, 6,000 Russians were granted temporary refuge on the Philippine Island of Tubabao. This post explains why the Russians fled to the Philippines and shows a cover mailed from Canada to a Ukrainian representative in the Philippine evacuation centre.

"White" Russians in Exile

After the Russian Civil War of 1922-24, soldiers of the anti-Bolshevik "White" Army and their families fled Russia. Several thousand Russians settled in China, many of whom became residents of Shanghai. The Russians remained in China until the late 1940s but were forced to evacuate during the Chinese Civil War as the Chinese Red Army was securing victory over Nationalist forces in mainland China.

The Philippine government provided temporary refuge for the 6,000 Russians escaping from China. In 1949, the United Nations International Refugee Organization (IRO) established the United Nations Evacuation Center (UNEC) on the Philippine island of Tubabao.

Tubabao Evacuation Center

The Russian refugees were then offered permanent settlement in other countries, such as the United States, Canada, Australia, as well as South American nations.

Mail from Evacuation Center Tubabao

 Guinan to Hong Kong, May 23, 1950
(The camp was located about 15 miles from the village of Guinan)

IRO - UNEC Post Office cachet applied to all refugee mail
May 19, 1950

Mail to Evacuation Center Tubabao

The cover below was sent by the Ukrainian Service, Winnipeg, to the Ukrainian National Group Representative at the Tubabao Evacuation Center on January 30, 1950.

Return address

The air mail letter rate for 1/4 ounce was 25 cents
(5 cent stamp fell off)

Post Office Receiver Handstamp

IRO - UNEC Post Office cachet used as a receiver
February 11, 1950

St. Stephen, New Brunswick:
Textiles and Chocolate

A cover is an historical artifact which captures a moment in Canadian history. The cover which is the subject of today's post takes us to World War II and the Canadian textile industry, and serves as a catalyst to learn more about St. Stephen, New Brunswick.

The cover was sent by the Department of Munitions and Supply in St. John, N.B., to The Canadian Cottons, Limited (Canadian Cottons), St. Stephen, N.B. The 3 cent letter rate was prepaid with a "Mufti" definitive stamp which had been perforated with the initials OHMS. A dated cancellation should have been used to obliterate the stamp but in this case the undated SAINT JOHN N.B. roller cancellation was applied.

Commercial covers obtained by collectors rarely contain the correspondence and the above cover is no exception. However, it is likely that it concerns the supply of textiles from Canadian Cottons for the war effort.

A "MILLTOWN, N.B." circular date stamp cancellation was applied to the back of the cover on February 11, 1942.

Milltown, a town adjacent to St. Stephen, was the site of Canadian Cottons, which explains the Milltown receiver cancellation.(St. Stephen and Milltown amalgamated in 1973 to form St. Stephen)

Canadian Cottons, Ltd., Milltown, New Brunswick

Economic History of St. Stephen

St. Stephen is on the St. Croix River across from Calais, Maine. Since the late 1700s, the towns have maintained close economic and social relationships. (A book published in 1875 provides a delightful flavour of those ties.)

St. Stephen's economy was centered on the lumber and ship building economy until the late 1800s. Milltown was the site of several lumber and grist mills.In early 1880 a group of lumber merchants began promoting a large cotton mill because the market for New Brunswick lumber had collapsed in the 1870s. The St Croix Cotton Manufacturing Company (later Canadian Cottons, Limited) opened its mill, the second largest in Canada, in 1882. The mill closed in 1957.

Labour History In New Brunswick (LHTNB) , a joint University-Community organization, has this description of the Milltown Cotton Mill on its website:
The mill was one of the biggest and longest-operating cotton mills in the province and attracted workers from all parts of New Brunswick as well as from other provinces and England, Scotland and the United States. By 1950 about 1,000 workers were employed there. The mill is known in New Brunswick labour history for its record of labour activism, which goes back to the early years in the 1880s. In the 1950s the workers' union, Local 858, Textile Workers' Union of America, played a leading part in community efforts to save the mill from the shutdowns that were affecting the entire Canadian textile industry.

Milltown Monument 2007

A volunteer group led by Bill Eagan, whose mother and father both worked at the mill, raised over $180,00 for a monument paying tribute tribute to the Millworkers. On October 6 2007, the Milltown Cotton Mill Workers Monument was officially unveiled featuring a bronze statue by sculptor Peter Bustin which portrays millworkers sharing a moment together during their workday.

A female worker holds spindles of cotton yarn while a male worker heaves a bolt of woven cotton onto his shoulder.

The Monument and its surroundings

The St. Stephen monument and the efforts of LHTNB should serve as models for communities across the country wishing to pay tribute to their labour history.

"Canada Chocolate Town"

The story of St. Stephen isn't complete without talking about chocolate. In 1873 chocolate manufacturer, Ganong Bos. Limited, was founded in St. Stephen, and unlike the cotton mill is still going strong with its head office and manufacturing facilities located in St. Stephen. In 1999 a Chocolate Museum opened showcasing Ganong's history.

The Chocolate Museum, is housed in the old Ganong factory.



In 2000, St. Stephen was officially registered as ‘Canada’s Chocolate Town’ as a mark of the importance of chocolate in its past and present. St. Stephen's chocolate heritage is celebrated annually during its Chocolate Fest held the first full week of August.

A final comment

This post which began as as analysis of a cover mailed in 1942 grew into a story going back to the 18th century, taking us to the present day. It is remarkable how a postal cover can spark such an exploration.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Alexander Radulov Rejoins
The Nashville Predators:
A Philatelic Connection

On March 21, 2012, Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced that forward Alexander Radulov would be rejoining the team effective immediately. This post provides a philatelic element to this story. First though, a bit of Radulov history.

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (2004-2006)

Russian born Alexander Radulov started his North American hockey career playing for the Quebec Rempars of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. In his years in the Quebec League he was absolutely amazing. He delivered an incredible performance in the Remparts' 2006 Memorial Cup championship game victory over the Moncton Wildcats. In the 6–2 win, he scored two goals and assisted on three more, winning the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy as the tournament MVP.

Professional Career AHL/NHL (2006 - 2008)

Radulov was signed to a three-year NHL contract by the National Hockey League's (NHL) Nashville Predators in 2006 and began his professional career with the Predator's farm team, the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League (AHL). He was called up in 2006 and played most of the 2006-2007 season and the complete 2007-2008 season with the Predators scoring a total of 44 goals as a Predator.

Kontinental Hockey League (2008 -2012)

In his third contract year with the Predators, Radulov stunned the sports world when he announced that he would he had signed a three-year deal with Salavat Yulaev Ufa of the newly created Russian Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). According to the Nashville Predator press release:
Radulov....has spent the last four seasons with Salavat Yulaev Ufa of the Kontinental Hockey League, claiming the KHL scoring title in both 2010-11 and 2011-12, and winning the “Golden Hockey Stick” as the league’s most valuable player each of the past two years (2010 & 2011; yet to be awarded in 2012). The 6-1, 205-pound right wing helped Ufa win the 2011 Gagarin Cup as KHL champions.
Return to the NHL (March 21, 2012)

Radulov and the Predators have reconciled their differrences and Radulov has agree to play under the final season of his three-year entry level contract signed in 2006.

International Play

Radulov represented Russia in the last five World Championships, winning titles in both 2008 and 2009. It is his success with the Russian National team in the 2008 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship which leads us to the philatelic side of this story.

2008 IIHF World Championship

The 2008 IIHF World Championship was played between May 2 and May 18, 2008 in Halifax and Quebec City. Russia won the tournament defeating Canada in the gold medal round.

Canadian Stamp

On April 3, 2008, one month before the Championship series began, Canada Post issued a stamp commemorating the event, designed by Lionel Gadoury and Dave Hurds and based on an illustration by Ho Che Anderson.

Canada Post provided this description of the stamp's design:
Based on an illustration by Ho Che Anderson, this dynamic image captures the energy and excitement of the game at its best. "With this stamp we wanted to highlight the game, not individual players," says Liz Wong, Manager of Stamp Design and Production at Canada Post. But that proved a challenge, because hockey in Canada is so closely associated with its star players. Designers Lionel Gadoury and Dave Hurds solved the problem by avoiding photography on the stamp. "An illustration can be more generally representative," says Gadoury, "and it also allowed us to create an iconic image with a heroic quality." This approach was designed to appeal particularly to young hockey fans and stamp collectors, he says. "We hoped to capture what kids are seeing in the cards they collect and in video games - a slightly exaggerated, comic-book style." Anderson is also a comic book illustrator, and his style fit the bill. His original stamp illustration conveys a sense of power and action, with much drama in the contrasts of white ice and a darkly silhouetted background player. The asymmetrical placement of the players gives a sense of speed, and the wider image dimensions offer a panorama that heightens the drama.

I prepared first day cover envelopes, affixed the IIHF stamps and forwarded them to the National Philatelic Centre in Antigonish to have the "Day of Issue" cancellation applied. Two cancellations were available, one for each of the host cities, Halifax and Quebec.


1. Stamp Designers

Stamp designers Lionel Gadoury and Dave Hurds kindly signed the covers which featured their contribution and are shown below:

Tournament Player

I thought it would be great to have a hockey player sign a first day cover. I sent a cover before the start of the tournament to the tournament's press relations officer in Quebec City asking her if she could obtain an autograph for me. I did not expect a response and was surprised and pleased to see that she had obtained Alexander Radulov's autograph. I imagine that she had known him from his earlier stay with the Quebec Remparts.

A. Radulov 47

I've always appreciated the kindness of Mr. Radulov and the designers and the tournament press officer for their cooperation. The covers are great hockey souvenirs.

Attention Leaf Fans : You might enjoy this posting