A Map of Canada's Pictorial Cancels (not first-day-cancellation)

Got it, thanks for the info! I’ll start working on getting some stamps soon then!

Here’s a more up-to-date cancel from Christmas Island, NS, sent to me by a postcard pal:

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Not the clearest shot, but this is from Toronto’s First Post Office! When I go back I’ll get a clearer photo :slight_smile: it has a quill and ink pot and says Toronto’s First Post Office.

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I just received a call from the Postmaster of BP St-Valentin in Quebec because I sent him a letter to request all the pictorial cancellations they currently have. This super nice gentleman made a shocking revelation to me:

Every year the design changes ever since they started offering pictorial cancel circa 1994, making this year the 30th design they offer. Yes, EVERY year they receive a new design from Canada Post, and the previous (rubber) stamps would be returned to the warehouse waiting to be destroyed. For my pictorial cancel project, he will try to get me as many old designs as he’s capable of finding today, but it’s a huge task to keep track of all these 30 designs.

Also, he told me that last year they had received over 3000 postmarking requests from all over the world for Valentin’s Day. They usually receive such requests well into the summer. For this Valentin’s Day, the number of requests they received is smaller compared with last year’s.

I don’t know if anyone here collects St-Valentin’s pictorial cancel (available in black and red colours). It’s quite a challenge to map out all the 30 cancels that have been previously designed for this village. I will share whatever information I will receive from the Postmaster, but please bear with me if my data proves to be incomplete.

2023’s design:

This year’s 30th anniversary design:



Hey, I forgot to post on this forum.

Recently, I found out that a cancel fabricated by Canada Post is generally valid for 12 years. Typically, the cancel uses a rotating dial mechanism. The dial for the year is usually rendered as a block of 4 digits stuck together that can be rotated as ‘2020, 2021, …, 2031’, unlike that of the day that is made into 2 blocks of digits that can be rotated individually. This means each rubber stamp comes with a lifespan of 12 years, as there are 12 slots for each dial.

Some cancels are particularly short-lived (like the one for St-Valentin is valid for only 1 year), but generally, when a design is made, it’s good for 12 years. After this period of 12 years, it will be up to the post office / Canada Post to decide if they are going to renew the same design, or if they are going to introduce small variation to the old design.

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As promised, I added an image to my previous post showing the interior of Canada Post’s cancel. The dials of both year and months are rendered as one single rotating block, whereas that of the date are made into two blocks that allow more numeral combinations.