Jones and Fortes commemorated on stamps
World-renowned jazz musician and English Bay legend recognized as part
of Black History Month series
OTTAWA, Feb. 4, 2013 /CNW/ – Canada Post released new stamps to honour
two individuals who have made vast contributions in their respective
fields. Oliver Jones, world renowned jazz musician, and Seraphim “Joe”
Fortes, dedicated lifeguard on the country’s west coast, will each
adorn a stamp to celebrate Black History Month in Canada.
The stamps focus on portraying each individual in their environment.
Jones is shown in a candid moment and at the helm of what helps define
him musically – a piano, while Fortes is pictured in the scenario that
he loved most – keeping a mindful watch over Vancouver’s English Bay,
where he served as a lifeguard for many years.
“The vast musical career of Oliver Jones is one of the brightest in
Canada and Joe Fortes’ hard work and dedication to the people around
Vancouver’s English Bay is inspirational, says the Honourable Steven
Fletcher, Minister of State (Transport).
“These men are unique in their accomplishments and contribution to
Canada and telling their stories through our stamps is what our
philatelic program is all about, says Deepak Chopra, Canada Post
President and CEO.
Jones began honing his craft at the age of five as a pianist at his
local church. Starting his fruitful musical career in his early 20s,
it was not until he was in his 40s that jazz became his mainstay.
His accomplishments, music and otherwise have earned Jones a swath of
honours over the years including the Order of Canada, l’Ordre national
du QuÃ©bec, The Governor General’s Award, three Juno Awards, ten FÃ©lix
Awards, the Martin Luther King Jr. Award for his accomplishments in the
black community and six honorary doctorates.
Although he attempted retirement in 2000, Jones continues to perform and
tour the world as he has for decades.
Seraphim “Joe” Fortes
Fortes, originally from Trinidad and Tobago, moved to Vancouver in 1885.
He soon fell in love with English Bay and its beach and eventually took
up residence there by living in a tent. He spent any available time
guarding the beach and helping thousands of children in the area learn
At first, his lifeguard duties were strictly volunteer but the city
added him to the payroll in 1901 as a lifeguard. While the numbers
cannot be confirmed, it is believed that Fortes saved in excess of 100
lives during his time patrolling the waters of English Bay, including
Following his death in 1922, the city financed its largest ever public
funeral for Fortes. A fountain still stands in Alexandra Park in memory
of his contribution.
About the stamps
The stamps measure 20.25 mm x 23.25 mm (vertical) with simulated
perforations, while the souvenir sheet measures 130 mm x 70 mm and has
13 + perforations. They are printed by Canadian Bank Note Company on
Tullis Russell paper using lithography in four colours. The stamps are
pressure sensitive. The official first day cover will be cancelled in
MontrÃ©al, QC and Vancouver, BC in honour of Jones and in Fortes
respectively. Each stamp is available in booklets of 10 stamps. A
souvenir sheet is also available. To download the image of the stamps,
please click here. To purchase philatelic products, please visit canadapost.ca/shop.
SOURCE Canada Post