Did you know that captivating windows into Canada’s industrial past lie at the heart of our oldest towns and along many of our most popular waterways?
Mills have helped shape the course of our country’s social and economic development for more than two hundred years. Before grain milling technologies were developed and introduced, people had no choice but to endure the labour-intensive and time-consuming process of hand grinding. Mills were the first factories, combining natural power and machinery to do the work of many men at once, and they served as the intersection between farm and industry. Few people were more important to a settlement than the miller, the link between these two worlds. Due to eastern and central Canada’s plentiful forests, Quebec, New Brunswick, and the Ottawa Valley were home to some of the biggest sawmills in the world by the early 19th century.
Many of Canada’s oldest mills have been preserved and restored as memories of our rich heritage. This year’s addition to Canada Post’s ongoing Flags over Canada definitive series will feature five historic mills: Watson’s Mill (Manotick, ON), the Keremeos Grist Mill (Keremeos, BC), the Old Stone Mill National Historic Site (Delta, ON), the Riordon Grist Mill (Caraquet, NB), and Cornell Mill (Stanbridge East, QC). The stamps will be cancelled in Delta, where the Old Stone Mill’s bicentennial celebrations will be taking place, and in Manotick, to mark the 150th anniversary of Watson’s Mill.
Simple as they seem, there’s more to the design of these definitives than meets the eye. “A lot of work goes into selecting the best shots and enhancing the natural environment around them,” explains designer Michael Kirlew of Gottschalk+Ash International. “Since the images are printed at such a small size, we pay extra attention to emphasizing each mill’s defining attributes.”
According to Kirlew, the design team selected their photos based on a number of criteria. “We asked ourselves: Do the surroundings in the image help to identify the location of the mill? Do the images work well with the position of the flag in relation to the type? And would each work as a single stamp, while complementing the others in a set?” The stamps are all set in an early summer setting. “When dealing with an ongoing stamp series like this one, having a unified colour palette is very important,” explains Kirlew. “We typically try to make the foliage, water and skies resemble one another, while at the same time keeping the personality of each location intact.”
To learn more about these historic mills, visit:
Watson’s Mill: www.watsonsmill.com
Keremeos Grist Mill: www.tca.gov.bc.ca/heritage/historic_sites/grist_mill.htm
Old Stone Mill: www.deltamill.org
Riordon Grist Mill: www.vhanb.ca
Cornell Mill: www.museemissisquoi.ca