World Stamps

Canada Post celebrates April 8 total solar eclipse with new stamp

Mar 14, 2024, 2 PM
Canada Post issued a stamp March 14 to commemorate the April 8 total solar eclipse crossing over North America. The stamp was printed with a spot-gloss varnish that glows when exposed to black light, showing the eclipse set against a darkened sky.

By David Hartwig

On March 14, Canada Post unveiled and issued a stamp commemorating the total solar eclipse crossing over North America on April 8.

It will be the only time this century that the path of a total solar eclipse will cross parts of North America’s three largest countries: Canada, the United States and Mexico.

“A total solar eclipse is, by far, the most amazing natural event you’ll ever see,” Randy Attwood, former executive director of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, told Canada Post. “You may think you know what to expect, but the real thing is much more overwhelming. Once you’ve seen one, you’re hooked.”

The stamp design shows the moon blocking the sun and a line connecting dots representing Niagara Falls, Ontario; and Bonavista, Newfoundland and Labrador. This line represents the eclipse’s path of totality, or the track of the moon’s shadow across Earth’s surface.

The bottom part of the stamp design shows a photomontage with Niagara Falls at the left, Hopewell Falls in New Brunswick in the middle, and Spillars Cove near Bonavista on the right, all locations along the path of totality, according to Canada Post.

In Canada, the path of totality passes through Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. The northern tip of Cape Breton Island also experiences totality.

Colour Innovations printed the stamp with a spot-gloss varnish that glows when exposed to black light, showing the eclipse set against a darkened sky.

This permanent-rate stamp, designated by the letter “P” inside the maple leaf at the top left of the design, pays the basic domestic letter rate (currently 92¢).

After beginning over the South Pacific Ocean, the April 8 eclipse can be seen across North America, starting at 11:07 a.m. PDT on Mexico’s Pacific coast and ending on the Atlantic coast of Newfoundland, Canada at 5:16 p.m. NDT. The duration of the moon’s shadow crossing Canada is 34 minutes, starting at 3:12 EDT.

Attwood told Canada Post what to expect as the path of the eclipse approaches: “In the seconds before totality, the world changes completely. The temperature drops, and a breeze may come out of nowhere. You might even see what looks like a massive thunderstorm approaching — but it’s actually the moon’s shadow, racing toward you at over 1,600 kilometres [approximately 994 miles] an hour.”

The duration of totality decreases as the eclipse crosses North America. The longest duration of totality for cities in Canada is 3 minutes, 46 seconds in Fort Erie, Ontario. The overall longest duration of 4 minutes, 27 seconds is near Torreon, Mexico.

This will be the first total eclipse to cross Canada since February 26, 1979, and the last total solar eclipse to be visible in Canada until 2044.

Richard Nalli-Petta designed the stamp using a combination of photography and illustration, the latter provided by Michal Karcz.

The stamps were printed in a quantity of 200,000 booklets of 10 (product no. 414254111). A total of 6,000 first-day covers (414254131) were produced with a pictorial first-day postmark from Niagara Falls, one of the first Canadian cities in the path of totality.

The Total Solar Eclipse stamps and FDC are available from Canada Post, by mail order from Canada Post Customer Service, Box 90022, 2701 Riverside Drive, Ottawa, ON K1V 1J8 Canada; or by telephone from the United States or Canada at 800-565-4362, and from other countries at 902-863-6550.

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