LITTLE CURRENT—Little Current’s post office is leaving its mark on its outgoing mail with the introduction of a brand new, custom-designed cancellation stamp that celebrates two important pieces of Island heritage, to be put into permanent service on August 1 in celebration of Haweater Weekend.

“Canada Post has special pictorial stamps you can order for special occasions. I was online, going through the Canada Post store and I thought it was funny that we didn’t have one for Manitoulin,” said Little Current postmaster Jen Hooper.

Cancellation stamps are placed on postage marks, such as stamps, to ensure that they may not be reused. These are generally emblazoned with the town’s name, the cost centre and the date of mailing. 

Most mail is cancelled when it passes through the sorting system at a main distribution centre but certain items are still hand-stamped when dropped off at post office locations. There were 10 pictorial cancellation stamps released in Ontario in 2018; this stamp marks only the third special pictorial stamp in the province to date in 2019.

Local postal employees worked in collaboration with the Canada Post corporate design department to pare down the design choices to the one that was eventually chosen. There were four possible designs in the process and the first draft version used hawberries instead of the structure that was ultimately chosen.

The cancellation stamp features the iconic swing bridge spanning across near the top of the square stamp, with its edges reaching and interrupting the border around the perimeter. Beneath that sits the day’s date, and then a few lines indicating water and the words “Gateway to Manitoulin.” At the bottom, the stamp reads “LITTLE CURRENT ON” and the words “CANADA POST” and “POSTES CANADA” vertically line the left and right sides respectively.

“We wanted to put more weight on the bridge aspect,” said Ms. Hooper. “It really is so significant; now that it’s having issues with it aging, if they do take it down, it would be immortalized forever in a stamp. (Little Current is) the gateway to Manitoulin and the first stop on the Island, so it holds significance for the town.”

The word “Manitoulin” is written in a font similar to the Manitoulin Transport logo, paying an homage to the company which has brought significant economic benefits to the Island and helped to spread the Island’s name around the continent on the sides of its trucks.

Postal worker Marion Knapp franks the first envelope with the unique new Manitoulin postmark. photos by Warren Schlote

One group that will be especially interested in the new postmark is stamp collectors.

“We get mail from postmark collectors who have gotten stamps from all over the world. They send us blank envelopes inside another so we can stamp them and send them back,” said Ms. Hooper, adding with a laugh, “they will keep re-sending it until you get it right.”

Once Ms. Hooper had the okay from her superior to proceed with designing and ordering the custom stamp, the process saw itself through completion. Because of the design costs and having to make a specific die for the stamp, the costs are a “fair bit more” than regular stamps, according to Ms. Hooper.

“But it was totally worth it, in this case,” she said.

Ms. Hooper said she hopes this stamp will be appreciated by all of the Canada Post customers in the area.

This newspaper had the honour of sending the first letter to officially receive the new Little Current postmark featuring the swing bridge.

“Yes, it’s just a stamp, but it gives weight to the mail coming from here,” said Ms. Hooper. “(The design) represents such an integral part of the community and we hope it puts a smile on people’s faces.”

The new stamp will be kept as a permanent addition to the Little Current post office after its introduction this week.