Postage Stamps: A Masonic Opportunity
Traditional mail holds in the hearts of many a special place; the stamp used to send traditional mail presents a Masonic Opportunity.
If any readers know of any Masonic postage stamps, please let the author know.
2021 marks for both the beautiful Windsor Masonic Temple and Harmony Masonic Lodge (which meets at the Windsor Masonic Temple) 100 years of community service and Brotherhood.
To commemorate these milestones, this author used Canada Post’s “Picture Postage Program” to commission stamps featuring (respectively) the Windsor Masonic Temple’s Iconic Façade and Harmony Masonic Lodge’s Official Logo.
Although not “official” Canadian postage, they are legal stamps and usable as postage (for mail within Canada).
This author also contacted Canada Post, and requested the issuance of an official stamp commemorating the Windsor Masonic Temple’s centennial year. Pursuant to a January 2021 correspondence, the Canada Post Stamp Advisory Committee will “review [the request] for the 2022 Stamp Program...”
“Letter from Jim Phillips Director Stamp Services Canada Post to Cameron Adamson (15 January 2021) sent via e-mail.”
Subsequently, this author began searching for examples of Masonic postage stamps.
John Warren Reynolds and Louis N. Jansurik, “Freemasons on Canadian Postage Stamps with comments on conducting Masonic research in Ontario” (2003) (ResearchGate) was an excellent resource. The author reviewed this resource Apr 11th, 2021 and owe it a debt of gratitude
Stamps Featuring Prominent Figures Who Were Freemasons
Canada Post has issued many stamps featuring prominent Canadian figures who were Freemasons, including Prime Ministers:
- Bro. Sir John A. Macdonald;
- Bro. Sir Robert Borden;
- Bro. Sir MacKenzie Bowel;
- Bro. Richard Bennett;
- Bro. Sir John Abbott; and
- Bro. John Diefenbaker (who visited the Windsor Masonic Temple).
Other prominent figures include:
- Bro. Ned Hanlan
- Bro. Josiah Henson
- Bro. John Molson
- Joseph Burr Tyrrell
- Bro. Thomas Clement “Tommy” Douglas
- Bro. Miles Gilbert “Tim” Horton
- Bro. War Chief Tecumseh
Many jurisdictions outside of Canada issued postage featuring prominent figures who were Freemasons, such as Bro. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (recently deceased), Bro. Sir. Winston Churchill, and numerous American Presidents and Statesmen, to name a few.
It is always wonderful to see Masonic Brethren recognized (via stamps or any other way); it is unfortunate that none of these stamps directly reference Freemasonry.
Stamps Directly Referencing Freemasonry
For stamps directly referencing Freemasonry, the author found two Canadian examples.
- A 47 cent stamp, issued 19 September 2001, featuring the Ancient Arabic Order of the Mystic Shrine (Shriners) emblem; and
- A 52 cent denomination stamp issued 7 Aug 2007 (via the Canada Post “Picture Postage Program”) featuring Most Worshipful Bro. Allan John Petrisor.
This author is proud that the stamps he commissioned will be added to the above-examples. However, the lack of Canadian stamps directly referencing Freemasonry represents a significant lost Masonic opportunity.
Other jurisdictions (Cuba, Dominica, France, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and St. Kitts among others) have issued Masonic stamps, many featuring the Square & Compasses (see Postage Stamp Chat Board & Stamp Forum for several examples).
Canada’s failure to do so is unfortunate.
Stamps: A Lost Masonic Opportunity
While modern communication often takes place electronically, classic (“snail”) mail still represents for many Canadians an important mode of communication.
In 2019, Canada Post delivered 7.9 billion units of mail.
Canada Post, Annual Report 2019, “The Story of 2019” online: Canada Post <https://www.canadapost-postescanada.ca/cpc/en/our-company/about-us/financial-reports/2019-annual-report/story-of-2019.page>.
Every unit represents an opportunity; an opportunity to send (from coast-to-coast-to-coast) a piece of mail featuring a stamp with an official Masonic symbol.
Past Requests for the Creation of Masonic Stamps
The creation of official stamps is done via a Stamp Advisory Committee reccomendation.
To this author’s knowledge, his 2021 request represents the second attempt in Canada to create an official stamp commemorating Freemasonry.
In September 1997, Bro. Louis N. Jansurik requested to the Stamp Advisory Committee the issuance of a stamp commemorating Masonry (declined in December 1998).
Letter from Louis N. Jansurik to Dean Karakasis (11 September 1997) in John Warren Reynolds and Louis N. Jansurik, “Freemasons on Canadian Postage Stamps with comments on conducting Masonic research in Ontario” (2003) (ResearchGate)
Letter from Micheline Montreuil to Louis N. Jansurik (17 December 1998) in John Warren Reynolds and Louis N. Jansurik, “Freemasons on Canadian Postage Stamps with comments on conducting Masonic research in Ontario” (2003) (ResearchGate)
Between 1997 and 2021 (to the author’s knowledge) no other requests were made.
If Masonic Grand Lodges make a concerted effort towards requesting official Masonic Stamps, I believe Canada Post would seriously consider the creating of these stamps. Each Canadian Grand Lodge could, for example, request their Grand Lodge Building or a prominent local Mason be featured on a stamp, creating a “Masonic Postage Set” that could be collected by Masons and/or stamp collectors.
Another possibility is for each Canadian Grand Lodge to create its own custom stamp (using the Picture Postage Program), once again creating a “Masonic Postage Set.”
Our Relationship to Mail
While it may seem old fashioned, for many Canadians the sending and receiving of traditional mail represents a special ceremony.
“In a Gallup poll taken a couple of years ago, 94% of respondents said that they love receiving a physical letter in the mail from someone they know [emphasis added].
Not only does getting a letter in the mail make people happy, but just the thought of checking the mail is something that 41% of Americans look forward to doing!
… The feeling you get after opening the mailbox and finding a personal letter addressed to you among all of the junk mail and bills is something that we need more of, not less!”
“94% of People Love Getting Letters in the Mail” Fictional Letters (7 December 2018), online: <https://www.fictionletters.com/post/2018-12-07-94-of-people-love-getting-letters-in-the-mail>.
Another report found:
“that millennials, Gen X, and Boomers all reported similar levels of satisfaction with the Postal Service, and 75 percent of millennials said that it’s still nice to receive personal mail and that it makes them feel “special.” [emphasis added].
Josie Rhodes Cook “Millennials Like Getting Snail Mail Because it Makes Them Feel Special” (6 Aug 2018), online: inverse <https://www.inverse.com/article/47822-millennials-still-like-getting-snail-mail-because-it-makes-them-feel-special>.
While many Lodge Secretaries (author included) rely heavily on e-mail for member communication, an increase in the use of physical mail (with corresponding Masonic stamps) could help increase attendance at and interest in Lodge.
Traditional mail holds a special place in the hearts of many, and the stamp used to send traditional mail presents an opportunity to promote the Craft. Masonic Lodges, Grand Lodges, and organizations should give serious consideration to either creating their own custom stamps (through the picture postage program) or making a concerted, organized campaign requesting the issuance of an official stamp commemorating Freemasonry.