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Tern Schooner

Ships of Canada, Sailing Vessels

Title

Tern Schooner

Denomination

12¢

Date of Issue

November 18, 1977

Year

Quantity

8,736,000

Postal Administration

Canada

Series

Ships of Canada, Sailing Vessels

Series Time Span

1977

Perforation or Dimension

12 x 12.5

Printer

Canadian Bank Note Company, Limited.

Creators

Designed by Tom Bjarnason. Engraved by Yves Baril.

About Stamp

No matter what Hollywood says about the computer, a sailing vessel still comes closer to being alive than any other inanimate object. Such craft inflame our passions despite the well-known rigours of seafaring life. Thus the hardships as well as the beauty and elegance associated with sailing are a precious part Canadian tradition. During the nineteenth century, North American three-masted or "tern" schooners generally had a high carrying capacity but a low speed. World War I stimulated demands for faster models. Nova Scotia builders therefore combined the modern fishing schooner's hull with the three-masted fore and aft rig to produce a streamlined type. Over the years, terns plied the South American, West Indian, Mediterranean and coastal routes, trading in salt, fish, gypsum, lumber, sugar and molasses. The attrition rate among the hundreds of terns was high, several having been lost on the maiden voyage. Nevertheless, some vessels survived hard usage and the war's submarine-infested waters and lasted into the 1940's despite being built of softwoods such as spruce. Tom Bjarnason's design for this sailing vessel stamp continue the pattern established in our two previous ships issues. By focusing on the ships alone, his colour wash and line drawing has captured the essential grace and elegance of this hard-working vessel and present a visually interesting interplay of sail patterns and rigging detail. The people on the vessel give it a sense of proportion and aliveness. These ships show us that their builders' attention to function and utility has not ruled out beauty and elegance of design.

Reference

Canada. Post Office Department. [Postage Stamp Press Release], 1977.

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