Official First Day Cover
Depicting a centuries-old figure without a visual record is a challenge, to say the least – and a common dilemma when it comes to historical subjects. This Black History stamp features Mathieu Da Costa, believed to be the first person of African descent to reach Canada, whose name survived history. It is speculated that Da Costa was a free man who worked as an interpreter for Europeans trading with Indigenous people in the New World. Evidence of this includes a document stating that, in 1608 – the year Samuel de Champlain founded the city of Québec – Da Costa agreed to work for French fur-trader, explorer and governor of Acadia, Pierre Dugua de Mons.
—Working closely with a historical illustrator to painstakingly ensure that all elements–from the style of clothing to the type of sailing ship–were right for the time and place.