File under more cool news from the Great North: Canada Post, Canada’s national postal operator, has issued stamps recognising five of the country’s great editorial cartoonists: Serge Chapleau, Brian Gable, Bruce MacKinnon, Terry Mosher (aka Aislin) and the late Duncan Macpherson. The stamps depict an iconic cartoon by each of these five greats.
Prior to this, Canada Post had only once celebrated comics or cartooning – with its 1995 superhero stamps. Those stamps celebrated the likes of Captain Canuck, Nelvana, Johnny Canuck, Fleur of Lys, and Superman (due to Toronto-born co-creator Joe Shuster).
This latest collection reflects the lengthy and not insignificant careers of five Canadian cartoonists who have been awarded multiple prizes and invested with the Order of Canada. Two of their number, Terry Mosher (in 2012) and Duncan Macpherson (in 2018), were inducted into the Giants of the North: Canadian Cartoonist Hall of Fame. In addition, each selected cartoon reflects significant events and perceptions of how, to the cartoonists’ eyes, the country perceives itself.
Below are synopses of the cartoonists and the selected stamps.
Saluted by Canada Post for his fifty-year career and being “the first cartoonist to bring his drawings to life on the small screen.” Chapleau is considered “Quebec’s most famous press cartoonist”. He began publishing cartoons in 1972 with Perspectives magazine. In 1996 he became – and continues to be – an editorial cartoonist for the daily newspaper La Presse.
He has received eight National Newspaper Awards (Editorial Cartooning category) and was invested with the Order of Canada in 2015.
On the stamp, Canada Post describes its choice:
“His cartoon selected for the stamp expresses the bitter taste left with many Quebecers from the large gathering in Montréal three days before the 1995 referendum on Quebec sovereignty. On October 27, 1995, some 150,000 Canadians from across the country gathered in the city to proclaim their love for “La Belle Province,” an event sovereignists strongly criticized.”
A forty-year veteran editorial cartoonist. Gable has been with Toronto-based The Globe and Mail newspaper since 1987. For a decade prior he was serving as a freelancer for Brockville, Ontario’s The Recorder and Times while balancing a day job as a high school art teacher. He became a full-time cartoonist in 1980 for the Regina-Leader Post.
Gable has received seven National Newspaper Awards and was invested in the Order of Canada in 2018.
“The cartoon on Gable’s stamp features a beaver drinking a beer, seated on a Muskoka chair and waving a small Canadian flag. [Gable] says the Canadian beaver is an image “of the little guy.” What’s reflected on his stamp represents the spirit of our country because it’s not an aggressive image, he says, but of someone “being friendly and open to their neighbours across the nation.””
MacKinnon had his first cartoon published at the age of fourteen in The Casket, a local weekly newspaper in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. A painter and a cartoonist, his work has been given gallery treatment and even been archived in the USA’s Library of Congress. MacKinnon’s work has been featured in Nova Scotia’s Chronicle Herald since 1985, joining the paper as its full-time editorial cartoonist the following year.
MacKinnon has seven National Newspaper Awards (six for editorial cartooning plus the inaugural Journalist of the Year Award, a whopping twenty-one Atlantic Journalism Awards, plus came out tops in the 2014 World Press Freedom International Editorial Cartoon Competition. He was invested as a Member of the Order of Canada in 2016.
MacKinnon’s selected cartoon for the stamp was one produced in the wake of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, a national tragedy from 2018 which cost the lives of 16 people, most of which were members of the Humboldt Broncos junior ice hockey team.
“His cartoon after the Humboldt Broncos bus crash expressed the support of a grieving nation”
Terry Mosher (aka Aislin)
Signing his cartoons under his ‘Aislin’ pseudonym, Terry Mosher’s work has been published in the Montreal Gazette since 1972. Mosher decided to take up a career in political cartooning after finishing college in 1967. He initially got published in the Montreal Star – becoming their official cartoonist in two years later, before moving to the Gazette. President emeritus of the Association of Canadian Cartoonists and recipient of the Order of Canada, Mosher is also a prodigious author with 52 books to his name.
Mosher has won “two National Newspaper Awards, a gold National Magazine Award and five individual prizes from the International Salon of Caricature.”
“Aislin [Mosher] was one of the first editorial cartoonists to regularly get sports on the editorial page,” said Canada Post, and the selected image from his career is from the 1972 Summit Series, where he travelled to Moscow.
Having died in 1993, Macpherson is the only cartoonist of the five to be posthumously commemorated in this collection. A ground-breaking Canadian cartoonist, Macpherson was the first editorial cartoonist to be given the Order of Canada; the first to get an agent; and he fought to achieve editorial independence which, according to Canada Post, “changed the role of the profession in Canada – from illustrators to editorial commentators.” In fact, with such independence, sometimes “Macpherson’s drawings opposed the position of his own newspaper”. Macpherson’s work was most associated with the Toronto Star, where his cartoons saw publication from 1958 to 1993.
Macpherson, across his career, won six National Newspaper Awards, a Royal Canadian Academy of Arts medal and the Canada Council for the Arts Molson Prize.
His selected cartoon reflects Macpherson’s ability to “[tap] into public sentiment on domestic and world events”
If you want to hunt down these stamps, then you can grab them via this link.
And be sure to check out the more detailed coverage with videos on the cartoonists that Canada Post has on its blog.