Canada Post Celebrates National Library's 50th with new stamps - News & Events - Library and Archives Canada
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What's New

Postage Stamps for the 
National Library of Canada’s 50th Anniversary

OTTAWA, September 8, 2003  -  Canada Post celebrates the 50th anniversary of the National Library of Canada today with the release of a book of four stamps honouring a diverse collection of Canadian authors. The National Library of Canada was created on January 1, 1953 with a mandate to improve access to Canada’s published heritage. The stamps’ issue date coincides with International Literacy Day, Canada Post’s cause of choice for the past 15 years.

The five authors featured on the stamps are: Catharine Parr Traill and Susanna Moodie (on the same stamp), Morley Callaghan, Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau and Anne Hébert. The five represent a broad spectrum of Canadian literature, from early 19th century non-fiction to present day fiction, poetry and, with Callaghan and Hébert, broadcasting. Design of the stamp is by Toronto-based Katalin Kovats, using the creative work of photographers Yousuf Karsh, Harry Palmer, Michael Kohn and Hans Blohm. Each stamp features an image of the author along with their open books. Selected text from their works appears in the author’s own handwriting.

"Today, more than ever, the safekeeping of a country’s publications and recordings is paramount to the protection of its history. Library and Archives Canada exists to ensure that our children and grandchildren, and those of generations to come, will have access to the words, pictures and sounds that explain Canada," said the Honourable André Ouellet. "It is my pleasure to unveil these postage stamps honouring the important work done by the National Library," he added.

Fifty years after its creation, the National Library of Canada (LAC) is on the threshold of a new era. The last Speech from the Throne announced the creation of a new organization, Library and Archives Canada, to bring together the National Archives of Canada and the National Library of Canada.

Accomplished author and National Librarian, Roch Carrier, noted that one of the goals of Library and Archives Canada is to raise the profile of the institution and reinforce the importance of libraries and literacy across the country. "These postage stamps will spread the word about supporting Canadian writers and their documentation of Canada’s culture. This heightened profile will help us in our goal to ensure that all Canadians can access the works of our national authors at a local library," Mr. Carrier added. "If we are to protect our heritage then we need to be vigilant in ensuring that our books and recordings are saved for the generations to come."

Library and Archives Canada’s collections contain one million philatelic records including the "Canadian Postal Archives" Web site. LAC has over 20 million books, newspapers and government publications, 23 million photographs, and more than 300,000 hours of historic video and sound recordings. Library and Archives Canada also plays a leading role in fostering the development of library resources and services throughout the country, a goal supported by the Department of Canadian Heritage and Canada Post. The latter offers a postage discount for certain library mailings.

The new stamps will be available at Canadian post offices or can be ordered online via Canada Post at They may also be ordered by mail by calling the National Philatelic Centre (from Canada and U.S.) at: 1-800-565-4362 and from other countries at: (902) 863-6550. Stamp information may also be found in the Newsroom section of Canada Post’s Web site.

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For further information, contact:

Tim McGurrin,
Director, Corporate Communications
Canada Post
Telephone: (613) 734-8876


Louisa Coates
Media relations officer
Library and Archives Canada
Telephone: (613) 992-9361 / cell 295-5516