We all know of Norman Bethune, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Billy Bishop and Terry Fox, but many of the greatest legendary figures in Canadian history are not household names everywhere. In August of this year, Canada Post is helping to change that by issuing a series of domestic-rate stamps which puts the spotlight on four worthy Canadians who have made their mark on our culture and our identity.
A hero in his region of Quebec, Napoléon-Alexandre Comeau (1848-1923) was known throughout the province as the King of the north Shore. His love of nature, his role as fish warden on the Godbout River, his uncommon talent of bringing people together in nature and his regard for the Native People in his community made him a folk hero from the earliest days. His unparalleled knowledge of the flora and fauna of the northern shores of the St. Lawrence River was legend, and his articles for the American magazines "Forest and Stream" and "National Geographic" led to international recognition by American scientists. In the woods beyond his home, the self-educated Comeau served as a turn-of-the-century paramedic, performing minor surgeries and amputations and assisting at over 250 births. While his name is still known to many beyond the borders of his native province, his legend is kept alive in Baie-Comeau - the town which bears his name.
Designers Catharine Bradbury and Dean Bartsch of Bradbury Design in Regina say these new stamps embrace an illustration style that "ties the four legendary Canadians together while being visually strong in the stamps' actual size". The designers attempted to echo the feel and impact of the great posters of the 1930s, and believe that the extraordinary lives of Mason, Foster, Munday and Comeau are now reflected in a design that is appropriately nostalgic while staying visually bold.