St. John Ambulance, 1883-1983
Date of Issue
June 3, 1983
Perforation or Dimension
Designed by Louis Fishauf.
The human body can survive a great variety of serious injuries as long as it receives the correct treatment in time. The St. John Ambulance has been working in Canada for the past one hundred years to help make sure that first aid does arrive in time. The St. John Ambulance traces its ancestry back almost nine centuries to the City of Jerusalem, where there had long been a hostel to accommodate Christian pilgrims and to care for the sick. A certain Brother Gerard was running the hostel in 1099 when the crusaders captured Jerusalem. His subsequent administration was so successful that in 1113 Pope Paschal II formally recognized Gerard and his associates as the "Order of Hospitalers." In addition to caring for the sick, the Order took on a military role and fought many battles with the Moslem powers of the Eastern Mediterranean. The Order also gained popularity in Western Europe, including England. Henry VIII and Elizabeth I suppressed the Order, but in 1831 it revived as a Protestant body. The English founded the St. John Ambulance in 1877 to teach first aid and home nursing and to relieve pain. The St. John Ambulance quickly spread to various parts of the Empire and in the winter of 1882-83 taught its initial Canadian first aid class at Quebec City. In the one hundred years since, the St. John Ambulance has trained millions of Canadians in the home care of invalids and in first aid. Uniformed members of the St. John Ambulance have become familiar figures at public gatherings, where they treat those suffering from accident or illness. In times of war and disaster the St. John Ambulance has comforted the afflicted. Thus the tradition which started in eleventh-century Jerusalem lives on in twentieth-century Canada. Louis Fishauf, Toronto graphic artist and art director, has used the white eight-pointed cross on a black ground (the badge of the Order since ancient times) as a basis for this simple and elegant stamp design honouring one hundred years of service by St. John Ambulance in Canada.
Canada Post Corporation. [Postage Stamp Press Release], 1983.
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