Date of Issue
November 15, 1978
Ships of Canada, Ice Vessels
Series Time Span
Perforation or Dimension
13 x 13.5
Canadian Bank Note Company, Limited.
Designed by Tom Bjarnason. Engraved by Yves Baril.
Many sailors never encounter ice, except in a cold drink. Canadian mariners, on the other hand, contend with everything from towering icebergs to an entire ocean frozen for most of the year. These vessels were developed to combat the mighty forces of winter. Needing a vessel to provision its far northern posts, the RCMP ordered the "St. Roch" from the Burrard Dry Dock Company. Constructed of thick Douglas fir timbers and sheathed with durable Australian gumwood, she had toughness, but with only a 150- horsepower diesel engine, she generated less horsepower than many modern cars. Furthermore, she rolled wickedly and boasted few comforts. Yet from 1928 to 1948, she acted as an Arctic supply vessel and a floating police station. To protect Canadian sovereignty and to emulate the achievement of his hero Roald Amundsen, Henry Larsen sailed the ship east through the Northwest Passage in 1940-42 and west in 1944. Transport aircraft eventually supplanted the "St. Roch" and now, fully restored, she inhabits a Vancouver museum. The 1978 Ice Vessels stamps present an interesting contrast of vessels old and new combating their natural enemy, ice. From the ice- scrubbed sides of the "Labrador" to the round-hulled "Northern Light", belching smoke while trying to develop enough power to force her way through the pack, Tom Bjarnason's designs are authentic. The set is enlivened by the colour typography, the cheerful colour of the "Chief Justice Robinson's" hull and the bright signal flags of the "St. Roch" on trials. The delicate black steel engraving is appropriate to both the rigging of the early vessels and the complex lattice mast, radar antennas and aerials of the modern "Labrador".
Canada. Post Office Department. [Postage Stamp Press Release], 1978.
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