The Alaska Highway, 1942-1992
Date of Issue
May 15, 1992
Perforation or Dimension
Canadian Bank Note Company, Limited.
Designed by Jacques Charette Based on an illustration by Vivian Laliberté
On May 15, 1992 Canada Post Corporation will issue a stamp to commemorate the completion of one of the country's greatest engineering achievements, especially since constructed under wartime conditions. The famed Alaska Highway, officially opened at a ceremony on November 20, 1942 on Kluane Lake, runs about 1,500 miles from Dawson Creek in northeastern British Columbia to Fairbanks, Alaska. The idea of a highway linking the USA to its Alaskan territory had been discussed since the 1920s, but it wasn't until the deteriorating international situation of the late 1930s that such an expensive enterprise was seriously studied. Fearing a Japanese invasion after the Pearl Harbour defeat, Roosevelt decided that the highway should be built. Mackenzie King concurred, as long as Canada did not have to pay for the building or maintenance of the road during the War. The US Army Corp of Engineers arrived to begin construction in early 1942 and began to battle extremes of heat, cold, wetness and dryness. The machinery continually malfunctioned. Miraculously the road was completed, but it could be a menace to life and limb for years to come. One stretch, known as "Suicide Hill", bore a sign which warned to "Prepare to Meet Thy God". Eventually the Americans paid $147,500,000 to build the highway and it remains a great tribute to man's perseverance and organizational skills.
Canada Post Corporation. Canada's Stamps Details, No. 6, 1992, p. 8-9.
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