Thursday, October 22, 2015

Philatelic Phantoms II: Haunted Canada Collection 2

Canada has its own share of urban legends and spooky folklore, and sometimes even our own government entities like to celebrate this fact. On June 13th of last year (a Friday, of course!), Canada Post unveiled a set of spooky stamps called the "Haunted Canada Collection"; although not quite as quirky as their "Haunted Stamp House" from 1997, it's still a worthwhile investment for those who are interested in such homegrown horrors.

This year, they've returned with Haunted Canada 2, which unearths five more spooky Canadian ghosts from across the country.

This collection features: The Ghosts of Gastown (British Columbia), the Red River Trail (Manitoba), Grey Lady of the Citadel (Nova Scotia), Marie-Josephte Corriveau (Quebec), and the Caribou Hotel (Yukon Territory). The tri-fold display opens to reveal short blurbs about each legend, and includes one sample of each stamp--which are digitally printed and have a luminous sheen (this looks really cool, but unfortunately doesn't reproduce well when scanned). The set also includes a special 25-cent piece from the Canadian Mint, which features a lenticular image of The Brakeman of Gastown; when tilted, his lantern switches on and off!

(c) Canada Post Corporation, 2015
(c) Canada Post Corporation, 2015
Here's a detailed look at each stamp, which were designed by Lionel Gadoury and Kammy Ahuja, with illustrations by Sam Weber (the text is courtesy of Canada Post):


Red River Trail

There's no telling how many souls perished in a valley battle or along the lonesome ox-cart trade routes connecting the Mississippi River with the Red River Settlement and Fort Garry. In 1903, a soldier on sentry duty outside Lower Fort Garry saw an ox-cart driven by a Métis man and woman approach his post a little past midnight. After the cart passed by several times, he ordered the travellers to halt. Immediately the man, woman, oxen and cart disappeared. Unwilling to believe his eyes, the sentry blamed the regimental cook for giving him indigestion. Until another sentry saw the phantom cart the next night.


Marie-Josephte Corriveau

Born on a farm in Saint-Vallier, near Quebec in 1733, Marie-Josephte Corriveau was executed for murdering her husband in 1763. She was ordered to be hanged and her body suspended in an iron cage, or gibbet - a punishment usually reserved for those guilty of particularly heinous crimes. It's said that while still in the roadside cage, her corpse would open its blood-red eyes and reach out to grab anyone passing nearby with its claw-like hands. After the cage was removed, locals warned that she still walked the road at night, accosting travellers.


Caribou Hotel - Carcross

Originally called the Yukon Hotel and built in Bennett in 1898, the Caribou Hotel was later floated across the lake to its Carcross location and renamed the Anderson before it received its current name. Rebuilt in 1910, after a fire, the hotel is said to be haunted by one of the proprietors, Bessie Gideon, who died October 27, 1933. A shy spirit, her ghost has been heard knocking on third floor doors, banging on floorboards, or seen looking out the windows with her parrot Polly. Although Bessie was reportedly buried in the Carcross cemetery, her grave has never been located.


Grey Lady of the Citadel

According to security guards, the Grey Lady strolls the second floor of the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site at night, smelling of roses and wearing a 19th-century dress. She is believed to be Miss Cassie Allan, a young lady who was engaged to a soldier stationed at the Citadel. On her wedding day, November 14, 1900, Cassie waited at the altar for her groom. He never arrived. Informed that her husband-to-be had shot himself, Cassie went into hysterics, unable to believe he was dead. It's said her spirit still searches the grounds of the Citadel for her beloved fiancé.


The Ghosts of Gastown

Reputed to be one of the most haunted neighbourhoods in Canada, Vancouver's Gastown - named after riverboat captain turned bar-keep John "Gassy Jack" Deighton - is also one of the oldest and most storied neighbourhoods in the city - and incidentally, the location of "Blood Alley," so named for its early proliferation of butcher shops. Gastown's Waterfront Station is believed to be home to many ghosts. Along with a dancing flapper from the 1920s and several others, security guards have long reported seeing a headless brakeman, said to have been decapitated by a train in 1928, still roaming the tracks, his lantern glowing in his hand as he searches for his head.

Much like with the previous collection, there are several other items available for purchase. These include: postage-paid postcards (sold individually, or as a set); a souvenir sheet of the five stamps; a booklet of ten domestic stamps (which may also be purchased at postal outlets); the official first day cover (OFDC); and the tri-fold gift set.

Haunted Canada 2: Souvenir Sheet Official First Day Cover (OFDC)

The good thing about buying this online, directly from Canada Post, is that domestic shipping is free! What's even better is that this is the second of a three-year series that will showcase some of Canada's most interesting ghost stories. To keep up with the latest spooky offerings from Canada Post, I suggest bookmarking http://canadapost.ca/spookystories.

Here are some more scans of the collection, showcasing the stunning postcards:









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