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Five-Masted Schooner

Five-Masted Schooner Canada Postage Stamp
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Five-Masted Schooner
Date of Issue
November 18, 1977
Postal Administration
Ships of Canada, Sailing Vessels
Series Time Span
1975 - 1978
Perforation or Dimension
12 x 12.5
Canadian Bank Note Company, Limited.
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. Vancouver and Victoria shipyards responded to the World War I shipping crisis with five-masted, 1,500-ton schooners. Built of wood and fitted with auxiliary diesel engines, these behemoths cost about $150,000 each. The local lumber industry worked some of them, while others were sold abroad in exotic places such as Egypt and Greece. Most famous of the class was the celebrated Malahat, "queen of the Canadian rum runners". She increased exports by smuggling at least 120,000 cases of rum southward per year even when business was slow. After prohibition ended, the Malahat hauled lumber until she was beached in 1944, the victim of a North Pacific gale. 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.
Canada. Post Office Department. [Postage Stamp Press Release], 1977.
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