Canada : 50th Anniversary of ICAO


Issue date: 16/09/1994



Silhouette of a multi‑engine passenger jet, sur-imposed on a background of key elements of air traffic control (radar screen and map grid), white clouds and blue sky.

The words Organization and Organisation have been omitted in the English and French names of the Organization.


Apparently, an error with perforation shift exists.





The Canada Post Corporation (CPC) left much confusion in the reason of this issue. The following extracts from the philatelic notice and the local press clearly indicate that the issue commemorated the 50th anniversary of ICAO. However, some English text mentions the International Civil Aviation, whereas the corresponding text translated in French indicates the International Civil Aviation Organization.



Press announcements.




Announcement in the Linn’s Stamp News, 7 November 1994, by Arleigh Gaines. Although he did not collect the issues, the late Ronald Ginns, alias Arleigh Gaines, was instrumental in keeping the philatelic hobby alive by publishing lists of UN topical stamps in his catalog named United Nations Philately.



Excerpt from the Deutsche Briefmarken-Zeitung und Sammler-Express, 26/95, page 56.


Full sheet of 25 stamps.


Variety: Full sheet of 25 stamps with blank corners (no marginal inscriptions, i.e. upper and lower selvages were cut) for delivery to the local post offices.


VIP Souvenir folder (in the form of a triptych) of this issue prepared by Canada Post Corporation.


Front of the triptych: Emblem of Canada Post branded onto the gray velvet cover.


Inside of the triptych.


1994 Canada Year Set or Collection of the Postage Stamps issued by Canada in 1994. Only the pages related to ICAO are reproduced hereafter.


Front page.


Page 28.


Page 29. It seems that the pilot’s picture on this page is probably a stock shot, not a real pilot.


Designers of the Canadian stamp: Stuart Bradley Ash, Katalin Kovats and Silvio Napoleone of Gottschalk & Ash International – Page 49.


First Day Cover, designed by Bernard N.J. Reilander; cachet showing Air Traffic Services; inset photo of the cachet by Tom Wray; additional bilingual text and photo on the back of the cover. The cachet complements the stamp by depicting the modern airport tower located at Saint-Hubert, Province of Québec, Canada.


First Day Cover with block of four stamps.


Reverse of the First Day Cover; the aircraft looks like an Air Canada McDonnell Douglas DC-9 on take-off.


Preliminary First Day Cover (never released) with horizontal position of the stamp.


The official first day cover was overprinted with the blue and gold ICAO 50th anniversary emblem in a collaboration between Canada Post and the ICAO Staff Association. One thousands of these overprinted covers were made.


The official first day cover was overprinted with the emblem of the Airports Council International (ACI) of North America (NA), on the occasion of the 3rd Annual ACI-NA Regional Conference and Exhibition, held in Toronto, Canada, from 25 to 28 September 1994. This overprinted cover was made available to the participants at the conference.


First Day Cover signed by Dr. Assad Kotaite, President of the ICAO Council, and Dr. Philippe Rochat, ICAO Secretary General.


First Day Cover signed by the two NASA Astronauts invited to the 50th anniversary ceremonies: Marsha S. Ivins, USA (Astronaut on missions STS-32 (1990), STS-46 (1992), STS-62 (1994), STS-81 (1997), and STS-98 (2001)); and Julie Payette, Canada (Astronaut on missions STS-96 (1999) and STS-127 (2009)).


First Day Cover with special cancellation of the Philatelic Exhibition on Aviation (16-18 September 1994), held on the premises of ICAO headquarters in Montreal for the 50th anniversary of ICAO. The cancel shows a Concorde and a Douglas DC-3.


Dual combo with the TWO stamps issued by Canada to honour ICAO. The first stamp was issued on 1 June 1955.


ICAO Service covers.




First Day Cover, Colorano Silk Cachet. Note the horizontal position of the stamp, whereas the official FDC of Canada Post shows the stamp in vertical position.


First Day Cover by Artopages (Sea to Sea); Tenant Pair.

Artopages began producing its first cachets back in 1962; Artopages cachets were originally produced by Alton A. Weigel. He also worked for Boerger A.B.C. cachets (the "A.B.C." stands for "Al Boerger Cachets"); hence, the similarity between Boerger and Artopages cachets.


Tenant Pair first day cover by Artopages with green House of Commons cancel.


First Day Cover with the Arms of Canada adopted in 1957 and drawn by Lieutenant-Commander Alan Brookman Beddoe, the Founder of the Heraldry Society of Canada.


Background: The Canada Post Corporation (CPC) left much confusion in the actual reason of this issue. Although the stamp vertically indicates International Civil Aviation and L’aviation civile internationale, philatelic notices mention the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which was clearly the intention of the CPC as reported by the local press too.

The first day ceremony (unveiling of the Canadian stamp and opening of ICAO’s three-day stamp exhibition) was held at ICAO’s Sherbrooke Street headquarters on 16 September 1994 at 10h30. See more details on the stamp exhibition by clicking on the following link: Philatelic Exhibition on Aviation (1994).

Note the vertical layout of this stamp (with the value printed horizontally), whereas some early documents (see above first day cover) from the CPC show this stamp in landscape format.


Note on Air Canada: A significant step was taken in 1919, when Canadian Parliament passed the Air Board Act, with the power to regulate and control aerial navigation over Canada and its territorial waters. In 1937, Trans-Canada Air Lines (TCA) formed as a subsidiary of Canadian National Railways; by 1942, it had expanded its Canadian route from Winnipeg to St. John's. In 1943, TCA operated the first regular Canadian trans-Atlantic service, flying converted Avro 683 Lancasters for the government. The control of civil aviation was given to the new Department of Transport under C.D. Howe in 1936. Howe saw how Canada could play a significant role in any international aeronautical organization. In addition to its strategic location for flights between North America and Europe, Canada provided an immense aviation industry with an internationally recognized expertise in aviation. This led Canada later to act as a mediator at the Chicago Conference in 1944, which resulted in the creation of the ICAO, and Canada being given the honour of serving as host nation.


Note on Saint-Hubert Airport, Québec, Canada: Saint-Hubert Airport (Airport Code: YHU) was the first civil aerodrome built in Canada. The Department of National Defense (DND) opened a permanent aerodrome in Saint-Hubert on 1 November 1927; it became the Canadian base for the country's first air route to the United States, served by Colonial Airways. On 11 November 1927, the first commercial aircraft commissioned by Canada Post started a regular postal link with Rimouski, Québec.

In 1924, Great Britain launched the construction of airships to connect its empire and in 1928, a mooring mast (or anchor) was erected at Saint-Hubert Airport to receive them. This mast reaches a height of 63 meters.

In August 1930, a dirigible service was established, when the R-100 (registered G-FAAV) arrived on its inaugural transatlantic flight, attracting over a million visitors between 1 and 13 August 1930.

In 1936, the newly created Department of Transport became the owner of the airport. Two years later, Trans-Canada Airlines (now Air Canada) made Saint-Hubert Airport its regional airbase, operating its first transatlantic flights from there with Lockheed L-10 Electra aircraft. On 13 April 1939, Canada's first control tower was officially opened at Saint-Hubert (see picture on the opposite left).

In 1938, the anchor mast was destroyed, as it became obsolete due the abandonment of airships and thus was considered dangerous for air traffic.

In 1940, with the outbreak of World War II, the airport reverted to the Department of National Defence to be used as a military training base. Civil aviation was transferred to the newly built Dorval Airport, opened on 1 September 1940.

In 1968, Transport Canada once again became the owner of the airport and civil aviation resumed. All general aviation from Cartierville airport, with the exception of Canadair, was transferred to Saint-Hubert in 1970. The Québec multinational company, Pratt and Whitney, a leader in the aeronautics sector, set up a service centre there. To accommodate the increase in air activity, Transport Canada undertook a number of improvements at the airport, including the construction of a general aviation sector and a new administration and maintenance building. The CÉGEP Édouard-Montpetit's National Institute of Aeronautics (École nationale d'aérotechnique, ÉNA) was set up at the airport in 1973.

In 1985, while hosting the Canadian leg of the first international transatlantic air rally, Transport Canada opened a new control tower at the airport, pictured on the First Day Cover and here below too.

In 1989, the 50th anniversary of air traffic services and the introduction of the first airport control tower were celebrated at the airport. In 1991, the Canadian Space Agency began construction of its Head Office, which moved there two years later. 

During the ice storm in January 1998, airport staff managed to keep the main runway clear and active despite the thick layer of ice that covered the entire South Shore of Montréal. This feat made it possible for air operations emergency services to continue throughout the crisis.

Today, Saint-Hubert Airport is one of Canada's most important general aviation airports, ranked fifth in the number of local annual landings and takeoffs (140,000 landings and takeoffs in 2005). It is also the main general aviation airport in the Greater Montréal area and is a major flight-training centre.

With its strategic location in the aircraft industry, Saint-Hubert Airport remains a leader in economic development on the South Shore of Montréal. In recent years, Transport Canada, in keeping with its National Airports Policy introduced in 1994, has undertaken discussions aimed at transferring ownership and management of the airport to local interests which would take charge of its future.