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 year of issue (1994) is printed right below the name of the country: Canada.





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.


First Day Cover autographed by Stuart Ash, one of the designers of the stamp.


First Day Cover – Private Issue. Postmark at Regina, Saskatchewan. Probably sent registered.


Preliminary First Day Cover (never released). It is to be noted that Canada Post had planned an horizontal layout 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.

In recognition of Charles A. Lindbergh as a pioneer in civil aviation and in confirmation of his belief in its future, the words of Anne Morrow Lindbergh and the artistry of Ole Hamann from Denmark have been combined on the cover to create a meaningful and artistic record of the theme of this stamp issue Safety in the Air. The artwork incorporates a quotation, signed on the plate by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, under a striking painting by Ole Hamann showing a bird in flight, with several shades of blue enhanced by a lighter blue background and a blue lettering. Ole Hamann was the third Chief, United Nations Postal Administration.

The quotation on the front of the cover is from Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s response on behalf of her late husband, to the presentation of the Edward Warner Award from ICAO on 6 November 1975: The early flyers loved flying for itself – for the freedom and beauty of the sky, the adventure of life in the air … They wanted flying to be safer and faster … My husband believed that aviation would be one of the great forces of the future to bring nations together.


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 origins of the airport in Saint-Hubert lay in the commitment William Mackenzie King, Prime Minister of Canada, made at the seventh Imperial Conference held in London from 19 October to 22 November 1926 to support the airship service proposed by the British to develop communications within the British Empire, a project deemed premature and technically hazardous by the Royal Canadian Air Force; Great Britain had launched the construction of airships in 1924 with a view to connect its empire. Saint-Hubert’s terrain is flat and not very sandy and lends itself well to landing airplanes and mooring large British airships. A mooring mast (or anchor; this mast reached a height of 63 meters) with complex securing devices was erected. The huge works were carried out under the direction of Henri Rocheleau, a resident of Saint-Hubert who came from a pioneer family in the municipality.

At the same time, the Federal Government was seeking to provide air mail service between Montreal and remote regions such as Rimouski. Saint-Hubert was therefore suitable for both projects and became the first civilian aerodrome built by the Canadian government.

Government sponsored flights to and from Rimouski in connection with incoming and outgoing liners began in 1927, but what was better from the commercial flying companies’ point of view, five government contracts were awarded for the flying of scheduled mail. In the Post Office estimates for 1927, $75,000 was set aside for development of air mail. At the beginning of the same year, an experimental program was started with the aim of accelerating the delivery of mail transported by transatlantic liners, intended for the ports established along the St. Lawrence River and to collect outgoing mail in these same ports. The pilot boat Jalobert of Pointe-au-Père, near Rimouski, which shuttled between the port and the ship, brought to the seaplanes the mail intended for the delivery by air between Rimouski, Quebec and Montreal. The completion of a rudimentary airport in Rimouski eventually allowed the use of more efficient and economical land planes.

The aerodrome in Saint-Hubert opened its civil activities on 1 November 1927. The temporary aerodrome provided postal services with Rimouski. On Tuesday 1 November 1927, a new Fairchild FC-2, painted in silver color with black lettering, registered under number G-CYYT, took off from Rockcliffe Airport, Ottawa, with pilot John Henry Tudhope and two passengers on board J.A. Wilson, Civil Aviation Controller and Major David Harry of the Royal Canadian Engineers; this second FC-2 had been acquired by the Department of National Defense and assigned to Canada Post for experimental air mail flights. After a 70-minute flight, the FC-2 made the very first landing at Saint-Hubert federal airport. A 2000-foot runway had been previously constructed and the only building on the site was an old temporary wooden hangar measuring 50 feet by 50 feet. The visitors were greeted by a small group, which included J.A. Adam, Engineer in charge of construction and J.L. Dansereau, Engineer in the Department of Public Works of the city of Montreal. After a short inspection, the aircraft flew back to Ottawa.

On Friday 5 November 1927, J.H. Tudhope aboard the FC-2 G-CYYT delivered mail to Rimouski from Ottawa and Montreal, mail which will be forwarded to the Mégantic liner of White Star. The following week, on 11 November, Tudhope returned to Rimouski to pick up 500 pounds of mail from the Montnairn liner of the Canadian Pacific Steamships company. The FC-2 aircraft based at Saint-Hubert airport served the government for several years to come.

In 1931, the FC-2 was converted to the Fairchild Model 51A painted in yellow with the military registration 627. It was discarded by the government during World War II.

On 1 May 1928, the permanent airfield of Saint-Hubert was opened and inaugurated.

On 1 October 1928, the Saint-Hubert airport became the Canadian base for the country's first air route to the United States, served by Colonial Airways.

Departing from Cardington, UK on 28 July 1930, the R-100 airship (registered G-FAAV), piloted by Captain Ralph Sleigh Booth, arrived in Saint-Hubert on 1 August on its inaugural transatlantic flight, attracting over a million visitors between 1 and 13 August 1930. There were no other flights. In October of that year, another British airship, the R-101, on its way from Britain to the Indies, was tragically destroyed in France. The airship project was dead. The only legacy this unfortunate project left Canada, and it was important, was a fully equipped airport, within reach of Montreal and capable of receiving air traffic in all weather conditions. The mast was demolished in 1938.

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.


R-100 at Saint-Hubert airport on 1 August 1930

First Control tower at Saint-Hubert airport in the 1930s.


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 & Whitney Canada, 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.


Today’s Control tower at Saint-Hubert airport