Monday, September 30, 2013

Princess Alice and Dehydrated Orange Juice

(This article was posted in December, 2011. It is one of my favourites.)

In 1945, Princess Alice, the wife of then Canadian Governor-General Lord Athlone had been provided samples of dehydrated orange juice. The delightful correspondence from Princess Alice is the subject of this post.

Dehydrated Orange Juice

During the war years of the 1940s, the National Research Corporation (NRC) of Cambridge, Mass., developed a high vacuum process for dehydrating medical products such as penicillin. The U.S. Army asked NRC to apply this technological advance to food, especially orange juice. In 1945, NRC developed a method of concentrating orange juice into a powder, creating the Florida Foods Corporation to supply the military. When the war ended a few months later, the contract was cancelled causing Florida Foods to shift to the commercial market. The company moved away from the dehydrated product and decided to create frozen orange juice concentrate. The company renamed itself Minute Maid in April, 1946.

Minute Maid has never made its dehydrated orange juice available to the public despite reports that the product closely matched the taste of fresh-squeezed orange juice.

The Vice-Regal Couple

On June 21, 1940, Major-General Alexander Cambridge, 1st Earl of Athlone (1874 – 1957) was sworn-in as Canada's 16th Governor-General on June 21 1940 and served until 1946. He succeeded John Buchan who had died in office on February 11, 1940, after suffering a stroke.

Princess Alice (1883-1981), Lord Athlone's wife, was a grandchild of Queen Victoria and a first cousin to Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands.

Princess Alice and Lord Athlone

Princess Alice's Orange Juice Letter

The 1945 letter shown below was addressed to a Mr. Scully, a resident of New York City, and was franked by the Assistant Secretary to the Governor-General. Since the free mail privilege only applied to domestic mail the envelope should have been franked with a 4 cent stamp.

Princess Alice to New York, December 12, 1945

Initials in the lower left corner of the envelope

AM = Alice Mary

Transcription of the letter:


Dear Mr. Scully:

How kind + prompt you have been about those precious crystals. I had no idea one could not order as many as one liked. I am rather horrified at my "faux pas". However you got over the dilemma splendidly. I told George to let his mother know that she need not ... bothered over the strange people sending her parcels-He says you cannot possibly tell orange drink made from these crystals from fresh fruit, which is rather wonderful.

With all kind thoughts
Affectionately yours
Alice Mary

Princess Alice's signature

Although the manufacturer of the orange crystals is not identified, it is most likely that the Princess had received samples of the NCR dehydrated juice. The letter captures the thoughtfulness and kindness of Princess Alice who, as vicereine of Canada, supported the war effort by serving as Honorary Commandant of the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service, Honorary Air Commandant of the Royal Canadian Air Force (Women's Division) and president of the nursing division of the St. John Ambulance Brigade.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

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

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Endangered Species 2007

Endangered aquatic animals were featured on a set of four commemorative stamps issued by Canada Post on October 1, 2007, to mark Stamp Collecting Month 2007. Artist Doug Martin illustrated the quartet of stamps showing  the leatherback turtle, white sturgeon, North Atlantic right whale and northern cricket frog.

The stamps were issued in two formats : booklet pane and souvenir sheet:

In this post I present first day covers prepared for this issue. Scientists who were involved in projects relating to the endangered species in 2007 are featured on some of the FDCs and kindly autographed them for me.

White Sturgeon

The following description of the white sturgeon is found on the the Upper Columbia White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative web site:
White sturgeon are North America’s largest and longest-lived freshwater fish, reaching a maximum size of six metres (19 feet) and 800 kilograms (1,800 pounds), the white sturgeon can live for more than a century. Ancient sturgeon-like fish have existed on the planet for 175 million years...The causes of the white sturgeon’s decline are not fully understood; however, in the last 125 years, human development, construction of hydro electric dams, water quality changes from contaminants, changes in flow patterns, as well as the introduction of exotic species and harvesting may have led to the sturgeon’s decline.
 In August 2006, the federal Canadian government officially listed the upper Columbia white sturgeon population as Endangered under the Species At Risk Act (SARA). This transboundary population, will also resides in Lake Roosevelt Reach, Washington State faces a similar situation of low numbers. Declining survivals have resulted in all recreational fishing for this specific fish population being suspended in both Canada and the US.

The Upper Columbia White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative is a coalition of government, aboriginal, industry and environmental groups working together to research and monitor the white sturgeon.

North Atlantic Right Whale

Adult North Atlantic right whales are 14 -17 m (45 -55 feet) long and weigh up to 63, 400 kg. (140,000 lb.) Although right whales have been protected from hunting since 1935, there are only 500 individuals left.

 North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium

The North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium consists of a number of both non-governmental and governmental organizations and individuals in the United States and Canada who work to study and conserve North Atlantic Right Whales.

In 2007, Christopher Taggart (Dalhousie University)  and Timothy Frasier (Trent University) were Consortium partners. 

 Christopher Taggart, Department of Oceonography, Dalhousie University

 Timothy R. Fraser, Trent University Wildlife Forensic DNA Laboratory

Right Whales update 2013.

Northern Cricket Frog

 The Northern cricket frog, a small aquatic tree frog found throughout the central US, is declining across much of its northern range. Historically found in extreme southwestern Ontario (Point Pelee and Pelee Island), it is now likely extinct from Canada.

The Northern Cricket Frog is limited to Pelee Island and was last reported in 1987.

Northern Cricket Frog Recovery Team

 Bob Johnson, Curator of Amphibians and Reptiles Toronto Zoo

Leatherback Turtle

The leatherback turtle  can grow to measure more than 2 m and weigh over 900 kg. The Atlantic leatherback  turtles whose nesting sites are in the Caribbean and South America migrate thousands of miles to feed on jellyfish in Canadian waters.  Leatherbacks are assessed as “critically endangered” on the World Conservation Union’s “Red List of Threatened Species.”

Nova Scotia Leatherback Working Group (2007)

Ransom Myers Laboratory Group

Dr. Ransom Myers  (1952 - 2007) was a world renowned fisheries scientist and advocate for marine conservation who taught and conducted research at Dalhousie including the distribution, movement, and population dynamics of leatherback turtles as part of the Nova Scotia Leatherback Turtle Working Group.Dr. Ransom died in March 2007.

Ransom Myers

Michael James, Department of Biological Sciences, Dalhousie University

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Caricature Definitive Period Domestic Rates : 1973 -1977

On October 17, 1973 Canada Post Office issued a set of six low definitive stamps to replace the Centennial definitives which had been in use since 1967. A new collecting era was now in full swing.

This post deals with domestic rates in effect from 1973 to 1977,  the era of the caricature definitives.


Most rates were increased during the caricature definitives' period, making a rate study interesting and challenging.

1. Letter Rate

The initial domestic letter rate was 8 cents for the first ounce was increased to 10 cents on September 1, 1976. The 10 cent rate was short lived and increased to 12 cents six months later on March 1, 1977.

a) January 1, 1972 - August 31, 1976

The domestic letter rate was 8 cents for the first ounce.

Toronto local letter, May 6, 1976
8 cents domestic letter rate

Halifax to London, October 1, 1974
8 cents domestic letter rate

Winnipeg local letter, March 24, 1976
8 cents stationery

Post Card

The reduced post card rate was abolished on November 1, 1968. The rate for post cards was the same as the 1st weight step letter rate.

Toronto local election post card, September 1, 1976
8 cent rate

Postage Due 

Short paid 2nd Weight Step Letter Rate

The greater than 1 oz., equal to or less than 2 oz. rate was 14 cents.

 Winnipeg to London, October 2, 1974
14 cents 2nd weight step rate
Shortpaid 6 cents and taxed double the deficiency 12 cents


Vancouver to Kincardine
Unpaid 8 cent letter rate, due 16 cents
Postage due stamps cancelled Kincardine, August 8, 1975

Port Stanley to Aylmer West, May 22, 1974
The U.S. stamp was invalid, thus an unpaid letter. Rated 16 cents due
Due stamp affixed and received Aylmer West general delivery handstamp May 24, 1974

St. Thomas to Aylmer West, August 28, 1975
Unpaid and rated 16 cents due
8 cent caricature stamps paying the postage due and cancelled with Aylmer West POCON, August 29, 1975

Notice of Postage Due

Unpaid and shortpaid mail deficiencies were often collected by leaving a "Notice of Postage Due" card with the addressee who was to affix the amount due on the card and mail it to the post office.

Amount due 24 cents

 Postage due card mailed Postmaster, Copper Cliff, February 26, 1976

Business Reply Mail

i)  November 1, 1968 - August 31, 1976

The business reply fee was 2 cents for each item in addition to the postage rate.

Canada Trust business reply mail
Ottawa local reply, August 13, 1975
10 cents paying 8 cents letter rate + 2 cents business reply mail fee
Due stamp not cancelled (the usual practice)

ii) September 1, 1976 - March 31, 1978

The business reply fee was increased to 3 cents per item in addition to the postage rate. 

 Terrace to Calgary, September 2, 1977
1st weight step business reply letter
15 cents : 12 cents letter rate + 3 cents business reply rate

The three undated items shown below and addressed to Director-Taxation, Toronto, were mailed during the March 1, 1977 and March 31, 1978 letter rate period.

T 23 cents : 20 cents 2 oz rate + 3 cents business reply fee

 T 33 cents : 30 cents 4 oz rate + 3 cents business reply fee

T 47 cents : 44 cents 6 oz rate + 3 cents business reply fee

b) September 1, 1976 - February 28, 1977

The domestic letter rate was increased to 10 cents for the first ounce.

Conestogo to Waterloo, September 8, 1976
10 cent domestic letter rate

Special Order stationery
Montreal, October 12, 1976
10 cents domestic letter rate

2.  Printed Matter : Third Class Mail

a) January 1, 1972 - August 31, 1976

The printed matter rate was 6 cents for the first two ounces.

Ottawa (House of Commons) to Toronto, December 21, 1974
6 cents printed matter rate

Toronto to Surrey, October 17, 1975
6 cents printed matter rate

6 cents precancel paying the printed matter rate (undated)

b) September 1, 1976 - February 28, 1977

The domestic printed matter rate was increased from 8 cents to  10 cents for the first  2 ounces.

Bowmanville to Cobourg, January 27, 1977
8 cents printed matter rate paid with 8 cents precancelled stamp

Burlington to Greening, December 18, 1976
8 cents printed matter rate
Returned and taxed 8 cents (single the rate for returned printed matter)

3. Bulk Mail

The bulk mail rate was 5 cents for up to 2 ounces from July 1, 1971 - February 28, 1977.

Care Canada bulk mail
Montreal, April 1976
5 cents bulk mail rate

Montreal undated 5 cents meter

4. Fourth Class Mail : Parcels

[I will be providing further information regarding these rates]

 Ottawa to Coral Harbour, NWT, July 8, 1876

 Cambridge Bay, NWT, to Spence Bay, NWT, February 27, 1976
90 cents

Hall Beach, NWT, to Ottawa, September 22, 1976

5. Change of Address Cards

The Post Office provided change of address cards which could be used domestically at no cost to the consumer.

 Change of Address, Victoria, October 27, 1974

 Change of Address, Vancouver, March 31, 1975

6. Services

a)  Registration Fee

i)  June 1, 1967 - August 31, 1976

The minimum registration fee was 50 cents.

London to Guelph, December 23, 1974
8 cents letter rate + 50 cents minimum registration fee

ii) September 1, 1976 - March 31, 1977

The minimum registration fee was increased from 50 cents to 75 cents

Cowansville to Don Mills, January 26, 1977
10 cents letter rate + 75 cents minimum registration fee

Agincourt to Montreal, february 12, 1977
10 cents letter rate + 75 cents minimum registration fee

b)  Acknowledgment of Receipt

i) June 1, 1967 - August 31, 1976

The AR fee at time of mailing was 15 cents.

Acknowledgment of receipt of item mailed from Prince George to White Horse, April 30, 1975
15 cents AR rate
Acknowledged May 5, 1975

The AR fee subsequent to mailing was 25 cents.

Item mailed January 19, 1976
25 cents AR subsequent to mailing rate ( Newmarket meter January 20, 1976)

AR Fee Paid on Registered Item

In 1975, Canada Post Office began using AR cards with postage paid indicia. The AR fee was paid on the registered item rather than on the card.

Villes St-Georges to Scarborough, September 18, 1975

Domestic letter rate.............8 cents
Registration fee.................50 cents
AR fee.................................15 cents

ii) September 1, 1976 to March 31, 1978

The AR fee was 20 cents at time of mailing and 30 cents subsequent to mailing

[Not Shown]

c) Request For Additional Delivery

i) 25 cents fee

Registered mail sent from Los Angeles to Ottawa, February 4, 1975
Additional Delivery, February 13, 1975
25 cents Request for Additional Delivery fee

Registered mail from L'Orignal to Ottawa, March 8, 1976
Additional Delivery, March 10, 1976
25 cents Request for Additional Delivery fee

ii) 50 cent fee (From July, 1976?)

Registered letter from Ottawa Sub. No. 60, August 26, 1977
Additional Delivery, September 1, 1977
50 cents Request for Additional Delivery fee

Label 33-86-107 (7-76)

d. Special Delivery

i)  June 1, 1967 - August 31, 1976

The special delivery fee was 40 cents.

 Downsview to Guelph, March 20, 1975
8 cents letter rate + 40 cents special delivery fee

Toronto to Guelph, January 7, 1975
Special Delivery and Registered (98 cents)

ii) September 1, 1976 to March 31, 1977

The special delivery fee was increased to 60 cents.

Toronto local letter, March 3, 1977
60 cents special delivery fee + 12 cent letter rate
(The letter rate had increased from 10 cents to 12 cents on March 1, 1977)

e) Certified Mail

Canada Post introduced its  "proof-of-delivery" certified mail service  in 1973. Customers wishing the service purchased kits which consisted of a three part form:

1. The Canada Post record card which was kept on file for 18 months
2. The Proof-of-Delivery card which was mailed to the sender
3. The addressee's copy.

Two kinds of kits were available. The "letter kit" included an envelope for correspondence while the "multipurpose kit" consisted of a label which could be attached to oversized packages or parcels. When first introduced, the certified mail fee was 40 cents.

 Letter Kit

Letter kit enclosure
40 cent value

 Postage was to be paid on the Certified Mail envelope
Kapuskasing, 10 cents meter, January 7, 1977

Multipurpose Kit

Proof of Delivery Card

Upon receipt of the Certified Mail, the addressee signed the proof of delivery card, a copy of which was kept in Post Office records for 18 months. The card was mailed to the sender, providing proof-of-delivery.

 Kapuskasing, November 10, 1973