There aren’t a lot of things that can get us excited about postage stamps. (But then we weren’t into philately even as kids.) Once in a while, though, something comes along in the mail that catches our attention. Like these latest stamps from Canada Post.
Gearing up for grand prix weekend in Montreal, the True North’s national post office has released five special-edition stamps honoring (or honouring) five of the best racing drivers ever to win the Canadian Grand Prix.
One of the stamps naturally commemorates Gilles Villeneuve, the late Ferrari driver who won his first F1 race on the island circuit that now bears his name. That race in 1978 was the first time it was held at its current venue, and remains the only time it was ever won by a Canadian driver – his son Jacques never having taken the checkered flag on his home track.
Michael Schumacher holds the all-time record, having won the race seven times. But Lewis Hamilton (the only one of the five still racing) isn’t far behind, with five wins… and counting. Ayrton Senna and Sir Jackie Stewart (that British knighthood still counts in commonwealth countries) each won the race twice – though Stewart’s were achieved (back to back) at Mosport in Ontario, not on Ile Notre-Dame.
All told, that’s 17 Canadian Grand Prix victories between them out of the 53 times it’s been held and the 220 grands prix they have won overall on their way to sixteen world championships. That’s a heck of a track record.
The stamps were unveiled by Jackie Stewart and Joann Villeneuve (Gilles’ widow and Jacques’ mother) at 1700 La Poste, the old post office in Montreal on the road bearing the same name as the circuit’s man-made island: Rue Notre-Dame (Ouest). Each stamp features a head-shot of the driver, with his name, a silhouette of his car, and the flag under which he raced (or, in Hamilton’s case, races still). They’re presented in a book of ten – a pane of five and an uncut press sheet – with a cover depicting a modern F1 car on the circuit in front of a grandstand with the landmark Biosphere in the background.