They’ve given us iconic and unforgettable moments that captivated our country.
Moments of amazing sportsmanship and sporting excellence. Moments where athletes redefine what’s physically possible. Moments that illustrate the power of the human spirit.
The Paralympics and Olympics hosted on Canadian soil have provided our country with heart-stopping moments of ecstasy – and sometimes agony.
They have seared incredible moments into our collective memory. They’ve boosted funding and public profile for Canada’s elite athletes, and produced a lasting legacy of public infrastructure.
The success of Canadian Paralympic and Olympic athletes at home, and in competitions internationally, have made them icons in Canada and sporting ambassadors around the world.
Paralympic athletes like Arnold Boldt, Lauren Woolstencroft, Chantal Petitclerc and Brian McKeever. Olympic athletes like Alexandre Bilodeau, Greg Joy, Elizabeth Manley and Joannie Rochette.
Canada has proudly hosted the Paralympics on two different occasions: the 1976 Paralympic Summer Games in Toronto and the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver.
We’ve also hosted three unforgettable Olympic Games: the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montréal, the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary and the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
The Games made us fiercely proud to be Canadian and showcased our country to the world. They also demonstrated Canadians can take on the world – and win, in both summer and winter.
Final two Canada 150 stamps celebrate Paralympic and Olympic successes
Our country’s Paralympic and Olympic achievements are being honoured with the final two Canada 150 stamps being issued by Canada Post.
Boldt and Woolstencroft unveiled the Paralympic stamp – which celebrates Canada’s accomplishments in the Paralympic movement – at a special ceremony on June 1 in Richmond, B.C. at Canada Post’s Pacific Processing Centre.
Moments later, Joy and Rochette unveiled the Olympic stamp honouring Canada’s success hosting the Olympic Games.
All 10 Canada 150 stamps and associated stamp products are now for sale online at canadapost.ca and in postal outlets across the country.
Torontolympiad and Vancouver Paralympics
Boldt’s amazing one-legged golden high jump – of more than six feet – at the Toronto Paralympics in 1976 is part of sporting lore. It was the first of five straight Paralympic gold medals he would win in high jump between ’76 and 1992.
The Toronto Paralympics – known at the time as the Torontolympiad – were the first Games to include athletes with an amputation or visual impairment. The event was an important moment for the Paralympic movement.
“That was the start of the movement. It was so neat, so powerful to be part of the Canadian team. We had done very, very well at that particular Olympiad,” Boldt recalls. “It has only grown year by year since that time.”
Indeed, Paralympic sport has become more recognized and appreciated in Canada and the world over.
It has since produced its share of Canadian icons and world-renowned athletes, including Petitclerc, who captured a staggering 21 Paralympic medals in wheelchair racing – including 14 gold.
And then there’s Woolstencroft’s historic gold rush in para-alpine skiing at the 2010 Vancouver Paralympic Winter Games. She became the first Canadian winter Paralympian to win five gold medals at a single Games. Woolstencroft is featured on the Paralympic stamp.
As well, cross-country skier McKeever made history in 2010 when he was named to the Olympic and Paralympic teams.
The success of the Vancouver 2010 Games led International Paralympic Committee President Sir Philip Craven to call them the “best ever Winter Paralympic Games.”
Montréal, Calgary and Vancouver Olympic Games
There are moments that define a generation and are forever etched in our memories. Canada has several of them from hosting the Olympics.
There’s Bilodeau’s historic golden ski run at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics – delivering Canada its coveted first Olympic gold on home soil. Canada went on to win 14 gold medals in Vancouver, the most ever by one country at a single Winter Olympic Games. The Olympic stamp features a triumphant Bilodeau after he captured gold in the men’s moguls event.
At the Montréal Games, Joy’s electrifying high jumps – and silver medal – caused a host nation to jump for joy.
Manley’s breathless long-skate program in Calgary earned her a silver medal and gave all of Canada a reason to hug and smile.
“The excitement and the passion that went into Calgary, from all Canadians, whether they were volunteers or just a country in celebrating that moment, I think that was the real kickoff to the success of sports in Canada,” Manley says.
“I think that’s really when this country went, ‘We could really be a contender.’”
Joy says hosting the 1976 Summer Olympics also was an important step for athlete development in Canada, and the federal government started to invest more funding in Olympic athletes.
The Montréal Games also set a higher standard for Canadian athletes that they shouldn’t be satisfied with second, third or fourth – but that “we want to win,” he says.
“It’s been a long, slow process. My jump sparked some imagination. They started putting more funding in,” Joy says.
“As we started to progress, we got better at this. And by the time we got to the Vancouver Games, they focused a lot of money and a lot of attention to coaches, to travel, to competition – and look what it produced.”
All Canadians shared in the spirit of the Games
Thousands of Canadians participated in Olympic and Paralympic torch relays that toured through communities across the country, allowing people of all ages and athletic abilities to have their own special Games moment.
Joy, who was a torch bearer leading up to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, says the torch relays were a special opportunity for all Canadians and a moment he’ll never forget.
“Most people don’t get to go to the Olympics. They see it on TV. And to see the torch come through and know the Games are coming up, just to be a part of that was pretty special,” Joy says.
“Seeing the face of the kids and all the people in the crowd – that was what was really special, is seeing the impact on all these communities.”
Here are the other stamps unveiled so far as part of our Canada 150 program: