150th Anniversary Commemorative Stamps
On Friday, May 2nd, post offices across Canada started selling a new 52-cent postage stamp celebrating the 150th anniversary of the first commercial oil well dug by James Miller Williams in Oil Springs, Ontario. The new stamp depicts Williams as well as another famous oil pioneer, Charles Nelson Tripp, the man who used the gum beds of Oil Springs to create and sell asphalt to France.
The stamp was launched in tandem with another new stamp, one that commemorates the completion of TransCanada Pipeline in 1958. It is being launched in Calgary. Both stamps will be carried in Canadian post offices until the supply is all sold. Stamp collectors pay particular attention to the first day Canada Post Corporation issues a new stamp. On May 2nd, there was not just one new stamp but a pair of new stamps. They were launched as a pair because they are both “landmark events in Canada’s economic history," according to the Canada Post Corporation.
Although Oil Springs, located 30 kms southeast of Sarnia, is home to fewer than 800 people, its post office experienced brisk business that day. It was the only location in Canada where letters and postcards using the new postage were rubber stamped with a Day of Issue. This particular Day of Issue rubber stamp shows an oil derrick with “black gold” gushing out the top.
The rubber stamps used by Canada Post Corporation are called “cancellation rubber stamps." There is another cancellation stamp that will only be given at the Oil Springs Post Office, but it will be used for almost the next decade. Designed by its postmistress Pat Bellemore, it shows an oil wagon being pulled by a horse. This image is similar to an early logo for VanTuyl and Fairbank Hardware, which opened in Petrolia in 1865 and continues today. It’s a well-known image, featured on the barn mural at Fairbank Oil Properties in Oil Springs and it is also painted on the windows of the Oil Springs Post Office.
The First Day Covers and both new stamps were also sold at the official stamp unveiling ceremony at the Oil Museum of Canada in Oil Springs from 3 to 5 p.m. on May 2nd. The festivities included new music compositions celebrating oil history and special presentations.
More information about the 150th anniversary events can be found at www.2008celebrate.com
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Contact Pat McGee