Hamilton militia gets stamp of approval from Canada Post
The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry is pushing the envelope for their 150th anniversary celebrations.
In preparation for the special anniversary, the militia applied to Canada Post for a commemorative stamp. Though Canada Post receives many applications every year, they chose to honour three militia groups across Canada: the Black Watch in Montreal, the Royal Regiment of Canada in Toronto and the RHLI, or "Rileys," in Hamilton.
"This is outstanding," Lieutenant-Colonel Dan Stepaniuk, commanding officer for the RHLI, said.
"There is a long tradition of commemorating significant Canadian events in Canadian postage and we’re proud to be a part of it."
The stamp depicts four soldiers, dressed in uniforms from throughout the militia’s history, and bears the group’s name.
The RHLI, as a member of the Canadian Army Reserves, serve as "part-time soldiers," according to Stepaniuk. While most of the militia work full-time jobs and only dedicate a few hours a week to the group, they’re trained to be called upon should disaster strike the area. Occasionally, they’re even called into duty.
"We’ve sent more than 65 soldiers to Afghanistan," Stepaniuk said. "In fact, one of them is on the stamp: Major J.P. Hoekstra."
Hoekstra appears as the most modern dress soldier on the stamp—a slightly altered version of a photograph from his tour in Afghanistan that the Rileys sent to Canada Post while they were designing the stamp.
As they continue their sesquicentennial celebrations, the RHLI has planned a special unveiling of the stamp and will present each serving soldier with a first day cover: a collector’s item where the stamp appears on an envelope with the postmark of the day it was issued.
The stamps are currently available to order for stamp and armed forces enthusiasts alike, with several framed collector’s items available—a pleasant surprise for Stepaniuk.
"Canada Post has really gone all out. It’s not just postage to mail a letter home," he said, adding with a laugh: "Although, if you want to, you could do that too."