Jones and Fortes commemorated on stamps

Feb 04, 2013, 09:32 ET from Canada Post

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.

Oliver Jones
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 Québec, The Governor General's Award, three Juno Awards, ten Félix 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 to swim.

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 many children.

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 Montréal, 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

SOURCE Canada Post