Monday, February 27, 2012

Rideau Ferry

Rideau Ferry, Ontario, is located about 60 miles north of Kingston on the Rideau Canal Waterway. Rideau Ferry was first called Oliver's Ferry after John Oliver who had set up a ferry service across the Rideau Lake in 1816 for those travelling from Brockville or Kingston to Perth.

Oliver's Ferry, 1834

Ferry service ended in the 1870s, when a fixed bridge was built.

The Rideau Ferry bridge pictured above was replaced with a concrete high level (26 ft) bridge in 1968.

Rideau Ferry to Odessa, N.Y., July 27, 1938
Perth transit

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Alaska Highway

Facing the possible invasion of Japan after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbour, the United States decided to build the 1,500 mile Alaska Highway from Dawson Creek, B.C., to Fairbanks, Alaska. Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King agreed as long as Canada did not have to pay for the building or maintenance of the road during the War. The Highway was built by the U.S. Army and civilian construction companies and opened at a ceremony on November 20, 1942.


Whitehorse, November 20, 1942

Inauguration Land Mail Route : Edmonton to Whitehorse

Edmonton, September 22, 1943

Mail from Construction Company Employee

Letter from Camp 14E, Dowell Construction Company
Whitehorse to Jacksonville, April 7, 1943
Registered air mail (1 cent overpayment)


(Not in author's collection)

Post-War : Northwest Highway System

After the war, the Canadian portion of the Alaska Highway was taken over by the Canadian government. The Northwest Highway System, as it was called, was maintained by the Canadian Army, with headquarters in Whitehorse, Yukon.

Whitehorse to Toronto, May 23, 1946

Major W.L. Gibson
Northwest Highway System
Whitehorse, Y.T. & MPO 1315, Edmonton, Alta.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Canol Project

In 1942, U.S. government wanted a secure oil supply for Alaska. The Canadian government approved the Canol (Canadian Oil) project whereby the U.S. would build a pipeline from the Imperial Oil Field at Norman Wells, N.W.T., to a refinery in Whitehorse and then send the refined oil to Fairbanks.

The pipeline was built from 1942 to 1944 by military personnel and civilian contractors. Canol was closed in March, 1945.

Oil tanks Norman Wells

Canol Whitehorse Refinery under construction, 1943

Canol Post Office

The "CANOL" post office was opened in November, 1942, about four miles from Norman Wells, in the construction camp that was building the pipeline. The office provided postal services for the employees of the civilian contractor, Bechtel-Price-Callahan. The post office closed on March 1, 1945.

Canol, N.W.T. to Jackson, Miss., October 9, 1943
7 cents air mail letter rate to the U.S.

Return address : Camp Canol, N.W.T., Can.

Canol Post Office circular date stamp
October 9, 1943

Linto Canol Cover

Not all Americans supported the financing of the Canol project. Prolific cachet-maker William Linto of Portland created the wartime  cover shown below.

 Detroit, June 14, 1944

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


In 1984, Vancouver hosted the 69th World Esperanto Congress. It was only the second Congress held in North America since 1915. This post provides a brief introduction to Esperanto and its annual Congresses showing souvenir mail from selected meetings including those held in North America.

Dr. Ludwig Zamenhof and Esperanto

Esperanto is a language created in the late 1870s and early 1880s by Dr. Ludwig Lazarus Zamenhof (1895-1917) born in Bialystok in the Russian Empire (now part of Poland). According to Zamenhof, Esperanto was created to foster harmony between people from different countries. With the publication of his first book detailing Esperanto, the Unua Libro , in 1887, Zamenhof saw the number of speakers grow rapidly over the next few decades.

Philatelic Commemoration of Zamenhof

In 1927, the USSR issued a postage stamp featuring a vignette of Dr. Zamenhof to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the creation of Esperanto. Since then, several countries have celebrated Esperanto by issuing postage stamps or providing special cancellations to mark Esperanto events.

USSR 1927

Zamenhoff vignette

USA 1933

On December 15, 1933, the Brooklyn Esperanto Society prepared a souvenir cover to commemorate the birthday of Dr. Zamenhof.

Brooklyn, December 15, 1933

World Esperanto Congresses

In 1905 , the first World Congress of Esperranto was held in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France, Since then Congresses have been held in different countries yearly, except during the two World Wars.
Examples of souvenir covers and cards from selected conventions are shown below.

1908 Dreden

Dresden, August 10, 1908

1936 Vienna

Vienna, August 11, 1936

1955 Bologna

Bologna, August 2, 1955

1969 Helsinki

Helsinki, August 2, 1969

North American World Congresses

The World Congress has only been held twice in North America since 1915, Portland in 1972 and Vancouver in 1984.

1972 Portland

Portland, August 1, 1972

1984 Vancouver

The post card below was mailed from Vancouver during the1984 World Congress. The card had been prepared for the 1967 Congress which was to be held in Tel Aviv but was moved to Rotterdam. (See Below)

Vancouver, July 22, 1984 (Machine and Roller cancel)
[The author has not seen a Vancouver Congress handstamp]

Vancouver Congress Seal

1967 World Congress Tel Aviv

The post card used in the 1984 mailing had been prepared for the 52nd Congress which was to be held in Tel Aviv in 1967. The Congress could not be held in Israel that year because of the Yom Kipper war and was moved to Rotterdam. Israel had prepared and printed a Zamenhof stamp for the occasion, but the stamp was never issued.
52nd World Congress Tel Aviv Logo
(1967 Congress moved to Rotterdam)

1975 Canadian Esperanto Congress

In 1975, the Calgary Post Office used a slogan cancellation to promote the Canadian Esperanto Congress. This is Canada's only Esperanto slogan.

Calgary, June 16, 1975

28 - JUNIO - 30
Fort Michener, NWT
Yellowknife 1973

In January, 1973, Balls were held at the Yellowknife Elk's Hall to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the RCMP. The Hall was converted into a replica of an old RCMP fort and dubbed "Fort Michener" in honour of Governor General Roland Michener who attended the festivities. The Hall was the site of the "Fort Michener" post office which was opened on January 19, 1973 and closed the following day. The post office was supplied with a circular date stamp.

Fort Michener, N.W.T., January 20, 1973