Canada #756a – Canada’s first souvenir sheet, issued for CAPEX. Click image to order.

On June 9, 1978, Canada opened its second international stamp exhibition, CAPEX ’78 (CAnadian Philatelic EXhibition). The first time had been in 1951.

The exhibition was held to mark the 100th anniversary of Canada joining the Universal Postal Union (UPU).  The UPU was established in 1874 to make sending international mail easier. Canada joined the organization on July 1, 1878.

Item #6A766A – Canada Souvenir Sheet First Day Cover. Click image to order.

The exhibition was sponsored by the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada and was the largest and most significant philatelic exhibition in the country up to that time.  In preparation for the exhibition, Canada prepared its first souvenir sheet, with a stamp-on-stamp theme.  The stamps pictured imperforate pairs of three classic Canada stamps.

Item #6A753 – The 12¢ Queen Victoria stamp First Day Cover. Click image to order.

The 14¢ first-class stamp reproduced a pair of 10-penny blue Jacque Cartier stamps first issued in December 1854. The 30¢ stamp for overseas mail reproduced the ½ penny rose Queen Victoria issue of 1857.  The $1.25 stamp covering the basic registration fee pictures a pair of the H.R.H. Albert, Prince Consort stamps from 1851.  A fourth stamp, not part of the souvenir sheet, reproduced a pair of 12¢ Queen Victoria stamps from 1851.

US #1757 – The US CAPEX souvenir sheet. Click image to order.

Several countries issued stamps at CAPEX, including the US.  In fact, CAPEX marked the first time the US issued a souvenir sheet in another country and it was only the second time the US had issued a stamp in another country.  The First Day of Issue ceremony took place on June 10, 1978, at the CAPEX Station, Toronto, Canada.  The sheet was also the first to feature stamps that had never been issued individually before.

US #1757 – Fleetwood First Day Cover. Click image to order.

To honor CAPEX, the souvenir sheet featured a wide variety of wildlife shared by both Canada and America.  Stanley Galli, a wildlife artist, designed the stamps.  In recognition of the relationship between the two countries, the sheet also included a statement in both French and English that read, “This tribute features wildlife that share the Canadian‐United States border.”  Collectors from both nations were exceptionally enthusiastic about the sheet.

US #1757a-h – Set of 8 Fleetwood First Day Covers.  Click image to order.

CAPEX ’78 ran until June 18.  Canada would go on to hold more international exhibitions, also called CAPEX, in 1987 and 1996.

Click here to see what else happened on This Day in History.

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  1. Wow, what fun it was to attend the CAPEX ’78 event in Toronto. It was one of my first big stamp show events that I had attended. My spouses birthday is June 13, so we made this a vacation to celebrate her birthday in another country. We were living in the Detroit Metropolitan area at the time and took a train from Windsor to Toronto and back. I still have all of the many souvenir sheet, and individual stamp First Day of Issue Covers that were cancelled at the event.

  2. Capex 2022 Starts today June 9 to 12 in Toronto. More details at the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada web site.

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