Shortly after 1867 Canada began to expand rapidly. Confederation united Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Province of Canada, which was made up of Ontario and Quebec. Newfoundland did not join because its interests centred on the Atlantic Ocean, not the continent. In addition, Confederation showed no prospect of settling the question of the French shore, an area of Newfoundland's coast where France held certain fishing rights that Newfoundlanders wished to discontinue. To the north and west of the nation lay territories belonging to the Hudson's Bay Company Canada purchased these territories in 1870. In doing so it acquired a vast agricultural hinterland and a northern wilderness stretching to Arctic waters. The acquisition created a nation large enough to survive side by side with the United States. Inhabitants of the new territory forced a reluctant federal government to create a small Province of Manitoba in 1870. Manitobans hoped that a provincial government would ensure local rights. The remainder of the newly purchased region became known as the Northwest Territories. These four stamps are the work of graphic designer Raymond Bellemare of Montreal, using a colour scheme based on the rainbow, symbol of hope and joy. The pane layout, in chronological progression, emphasizes the growth and organization of Canada from a largely undeveloped and unmapped territory to a colourful and vibrant nation.
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