On May 13th, 2011 Canada Post began issuing a new se-tenant series of stamps featuring unusual methods of mail delivery in Canada throughout the decades. The first stamp illustrates an interesting tidbit of postal history from the Magdalen Islands.
The Magdalen Islands are located in the Gulf of Saint-Laurence and are part of the province of Quebec. In 1910, these islands found themselves completely cut off from civilization when a telegraph cable broke. In order to communicate with the mainland, the ever-enterprising islanders filled a large, empty molasses barrel with letters. They then launched the mail-barrel with a sign that said ‘Winter Magdalen Mail’! The barrel was found in Nova Scotia by Murdoch McIssac who forwarded the mail and passed on the plea for help. You can find replicas of the now famous molasses barrel in tourist shops all over the island.
The second stamp in the series shows a once common form of mail delivery in the Canadian far north—dog teams! Before airplanes were able to reach these remote areas of Canada, dog sled teams were a practical method of transportation. Can you think of more fun way to deliver or receive mail? Mail delivery by dog teams continued right up until 1960.