The hidden date for this stamp can be found beside the medicine bottle.
A great symbol of the contribution of Canadian women can be found in the Victorian Order of Nurses for Canada (VON). The prairies, the northern muskeg, the boreal forest, and the mountainous regions were harsh environments for the pioneers of the Victorian era. It was decided by the National Council of Women of Canada (NCWC) that measures must be taken to provide medical aid and nursing to these people who were suffering great hardship and high mortality. It was proposed in 1897 that a service of nurses be created as Canada's memorial for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, "no doubt in emulation of the British Institute of Queen's Nurses which had been founded at her Golden Jubilee", as the official history of the VON states. Lady Ishbel Aberdeen, wife of Canada's Governor General, helped pressure the federal government to inaugurate the VON. It is therefore with great pride that Canada Post honours the centennial year of the Victorian Order of Nurses for Canada, a movement and institution that has contributed to this country's civilisation. The single, domestic-rate (45¢), commemorative stamp depicts a VON nurse tending to a senior at home. Below these figures are smaller images showing the various modes of transport used by VON nurses over the years. It is the first stamp designed for Canada Post by artist Margaret Issenman of Halifax. The design itself is simple and forthright, truly in spirit of the VON. Lady Aberdeen rallied the support of her colleagues. She formed a committee which included the wife of the Minister of the Interior, the Minister responsible for the mass immigration to Canada's western territories. Together they worked from within the halls of power. They affirmed the virtues of the celebrated English nurse, Florence Nightingale. The original objective of the organization was to provide "home helpers" to be agents of "mercy and kindness", but the movement soon adopted the model of the British Order, accepting only fully qualified nurses. Going into remote and hostile regions would require the pluck, gall and savvy of women with a pioneering spirit. These women would not work as did the private nurses of the day in the grand homes of affluent Canadians but rather among the poor and the isolated for whom health care was non-existent. Sir Wilfrid Laurier made a motion in Parliament to inaugurate the Victorian Order of Nurses for Canada and Lady Aberdeen was appointed as president, but the medical profession quickly raised objections. In response, Lady Aberdeen rallied the aid of key figures in the medical profession and enlisted the services of Charlotte Macleod, a student of Florence Nightingale, to start the Order. Macleod worked with Dr. Alfred Worcester, founder of the Waltham Training School for District Nurses in Massachusetts. It was after Dr. Worcester's visit to Government House and his discussions with Ontario Medical Society explaining the emerging and vital role of district nurses that the Canadian medical establishment relented and allowed the VON to commence its work. Today there are 71 VON branches across Canada with some 6,000 staff and 8,700 volunteers. The branches are operated by volunteer boards of local citizens and professional staff. The Victorian Order of Nurses has developed an infrastructure of community-based home support services and pioneered such initiatives as prenatal education and Meals-on-Wheels. Recent initiatives include home-based palliative care, adult day programs, foot-care clinics, respite care, primary-health clinics and health services in shelters for women, children and youth.