The hidden date for this stamp can be found along the left edge of the stamp.
John Ware was a cowboy who helped establish the ranching industry in the part of the prairies that would eventually become Alberta.
Born into slavery in South Carolina, Ware travelled to Texas after the Civil War, where he became an experienced cowhand. In 1882, strong and industrious, Ware drove 3,000 cattle across the border for the North West Cattle company, and then settled in Canada. He lived and worked first in the Calgary area, then established his own ranch in the Foothills in 1890. He would later move the ranch and his family to a new spot near Brooks, Alberta, in 1900.
With his great stature, abilities and sense of adventure, Ware had all the makings of a folk hero. Skilled with the lariat, he pioneered steer-wrestling and won his first competition at the Calgary Summer Fair of 1893, setting a precedent for what would become a highlight of the Calgary Stampede. Ironically, he died in 1905, when his horse tripped and crushed him.
“I used a collage of elements in the stamp to give dimension to the story of Ware,” says Lara Minja of Vancouver’s Lime Design, who has designed the three previous issues in the Black History series. “The strong and flattering portrait provides a central focus, and silhouettes of significant places appear at the bottom. This stamp is intended to have a historical look and feel, as well as a richness and human warmth.”