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Jacques Cartier, 1534-1984


Jacques Cartier, 1534-1984



Date of Issue

April 20, 1984


Postal Administration


Perforation or Dimension



Designed by Yves Paquin. Engraved by Claude Haley.

About Stamp

It was 450 years ago that explorer Jacques Cartier made his first voyage to Canada - a voyage that required papal approval. The 16th century was marked by many European explorations of the American continent, but papal edict had long reserved North American territories exclusively for Spain and Portugal. However, Pope Clement VII did not object to France's proposal to chart the northern part of the New World in 1534. Consequently, King of France ordered Jacques Cartier to "discover certain islands and lands where it is said that a great quantity of gold and other precious things are to be found." Cartier left Saint-Malo, France, on 20 April 1534 with two ships and 61 men, and, favoured by good winds, reached Newfoundland after 20 days. From Newfoundland, Cartier traversed the Baie des Châteaux (Strait of Belle-Isle) and charted the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. He mistook the Magdalen Islands and Prince Edward Island for the mainland. During a ten-day stay in Gaspé harbour, Cartier met a group of Iroquoian-Huron peoples. Two of the Chief's sons left with Cartier and acted as guides and interpreters on subsequent voyages. After leaving Gaspé, Cartier discovered the passage between Anticosti Island and the Quebec shore, but the fierce winds he encountered there prevented him from exploring further. He returned to France, reaching Saint-Malo on 5 September 1534. The 450th anniversary of Jacques Cartier's first voyage to Canada is being marked by celebrations during the summer of 1984, and by a philatelic event: a commemorative stamp to be issued jointly by Canada and France. The double issue will be marked by several firsts, in both stamp design and printing. The stamp design, the work of Yves Paquin of Montreal, symbolically incorporates the highlights in the life of this intrepid explorer, and was chosen by both Canada and France to sum up the role of both countries in this historic event. This is also one of the rare occasions when a Canadian stamp has been printed outside Canada. The design has been adapted to the special presses of the "Imprimerie des timbres-poste France" using steel engraving in four colours. The design for both stamp were engraved by France's Claude Haley.
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Canada Post Corporation. [Postage Stamp Press Release], 1984.

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