British Commonwealth

Up Catalog

Exploration of Canada ~ Discoverers

     Archaeologists believe that the Indians and the Inuit migrated from Asia across the Bering Strait to explore most of Canada. The first known Europeans to visit Canada were the Vikings who landed in northern Newfoundland about 1000 AD, although there is some evidence that they may have been preceded by Buddhist monks from China in 458 AD or by Irish monks in the sixth century.
     Looking for a western route to Asia on behalf of England, John Cabot (Giovanni Caboto) discovered the North American continent in 1497. Cabot’s discovery led to the establishment of a European fishery on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. His sailing directions were probably used by Jacques Cartier on his 1534 and 1535 voyages.
     The British explorer Henry Hudson, helped discover the north-eastern part of the continent as the search for a North-West Passage to Asia continued. After John Davis’s three voyages (1585-7) delineated much of the Davis Strait region, Hudson traversed much of the Davis Strait region, Hudson traversed Hudson Strait and discovered Hudson Bay in 1610.
     The cachet design is based on a part of Luke “North West” Foxe’s map of 1635. The native peoples’ migration routes and early European explorers’ routes are shown in relation to landmasses as they were known at the time. Stylized maps are also shown on the stamps

SCN 1107A


     The explorers honoured in this second set of stamps in the Exploration of Canada series investigated the eastern interior of the North American continent. Étienne Brûlé (1592-1633) is representative of the first coureurs des bois who thoroughly explored New France during the seventeenth century. Brûlé lived among the Huron and Iroquois, and made extensive discoveries throughout the Great Lakes region.
     Pierre-Esprit Radisson (1640-1710) and Médard Chouart des Groseilliers(1618-1696) were the first Europeans to explore Lake Superior in detail. Their discoveries and conception of transportation routes for the fur trade led to the founding of the Hudson’s Bay Company.
     Louis Joliet (1645-1700) was commissioned by the intendant, Talon, to explore the Mississippi River via the Great Lakes, in search of a passage to Asia. Father Jacques Marquette, a Jesuit missionary, acted as interpreter for Jolliet on the expedition to the Mississippi. Jolliet later explored Lake St. John, the St. Lawrence River, the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Labrador coast. Many Jesuits and Sulpicians who founded missions in the wilderness kept careful accounts of explorations and discoveries as they lived and worked among the native peoples.
     The cachet is based on part of Coronelli’s 1688 map of western New France. Stylized maps also appear on the stamps.

SCN 1129A

The descriptions are from the first day covers issued by Canada Post.

    Two additional covers and sets of stamps were issued in 1988 and 1989. The first recognized 18th century explorers, Anthony Henday, George Vancouver, Simon Fraser, and John Palliser (SCN 1199-1202). The second, Explorers of the North, Matonabbee, Sir John Franklin, Joseph Burr, and Vilhjalmer Stefansson (1233-1236).

Back Next