Peace Bridge, 1927-1977
Date of Issue
August 4, 1977
Perforation or Dimension
Designed by Rolf P. Harder.
Some say that nations are composed of people who have common illusions about their past and a common dislike for their neighbours. Nevertheless, the friendship between Canada and the United States is so strong that has become the standard of enlightened international relations - a standard symbolized by the Peace Bridge. The Peace Bridge connects Fort Erie, Ontario and Buffalo, New York. Commercial considerations aside, promoters of the structure visualized it as a monument to the peaceful years since the War of 1812. By 1914 planning was well advanced, but World War I intervened. Not until 1927 was the project completed - a mere nine months after engineers began the job of overcoming the Niagara River's mighty currents. On 7 August 1927, an all-star cast assembled to dedicate the bridge. The Governor of New York, the Premier of Ontario, the United States Vice President and Secretary of State, the Canadian and British Prime Ministers and the Prince of Wales participated. Prime Minister Mackenzie King observed that the years of peace between Canada and the United States taught Europeans a great object lesson. There was tremendous satisfaction that the Buffalo and Fort Erie bridge terminals stood on ground previously occupied by fortresses. The ceremony itself reassured the world that there would be no serious consequences from the recent failure of Britain and the United States to agree on naval disarmament. The new structure was not only a memorial to peace, but also an emblem of the new spirit in Canadian-American relations: for the nineteenth century had not been a golden age of international amity. True, some Canadians regarded the United States as being the land of economic opportunity and as having the most perfect political structure in the universe. These individuals felt that "On Loyalty we cannot live, one ounce of Bread it will not give, clear the way for Annexation, or we shall meet with starvation." However, most British North Americans distrusted the United States and the sentiments that American miners summed up in their ditty about the Fraser River Gold Rush: "Soon our banner will be streaming, soon the eagle will be screaming, and the lion - see it cowers, Hurrah, boys, the river's ours." The War of 1812, Fenian Raids, and the fear of invasion after the Civil War and during the Venezuela crisis of the late 1890's convinced Canadians that they must engage in "a constant struggle for independence against a powerful and unprincipled neighbour..." The magnificent span on the Niagara River illustrates how friendship has replaced suspicion.
Canada. Post Office Department. [Postage Stamp Press Release], 1977.
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