Vancouver, BC (August 1, 2008) – British Columbia celebrates its 150th Anniversary with a Commemorative Stamp by Canada Post. The 52¢ stamp, conceived and designed by Subplot Design Inc. of Vancouver, BC and unveiled by Premiere Gordon Campbell on June 13, 2008, goes on sale to the public today.


The commemorative release, all designed by Subplot Design, includes the 52¢ stamp, innovative two-sided 16-stamp collector’s panes, and collectible Official First Day Cover Envelopes featuring either single or four-up “corner block” stamps with a unique postage cancellation mark.


“The unique pane is sure to be a sought-after collectible”, says Danielle Trottier, Manager of Stamp Design and Production at Canada Post. “This is one of the few times we’ve produced a self-adhesive pane that includes design elements on the back”.


Subplot Design’s concept was inspired by one of the research documents that were submitted to Canada Post as part of the nomination process:


“The story of the creation of the Crown Colony of British Columbia in 1858 is the story of the political response to the Fraser River Gold Rush.” British Columbia’s 150th Anniversary, Smith Research, Oct 18, 2006, page 13


The Fraser River Gold Rush of 1858 was the pivotal event that prompted the British Crown to form the colony of British Columbia, then known as New Caledonia, in order to protect the dominion’s interests in the region. With gold being discovered in the Fraser River sandbars, thousands of American miners began flooding into the region, vastly outnumbering the local population of British colonialists. The gold rush, combined with the expansionist policy of the United States, prompted James Douglas (1803-1877), then Governor of the colony of Vancouver Island and still an HBC proctor, to gamble and claim the Fraser River goldfields as part of the “British Crown”, without England’s approval. Luckily for him, he got their backing soon after, and not only was it declared British soil, but the whole region was renamed “British Columbia” (by Queen Victoria herself, it is recorded) in August 1858, and James Douglas was named its first Governor in an official ceremony on November 19, 1858 at Fort Langley.


“We wanted the stamp image to be bold, tough and authentic without relying on an archival image”, says Roy White, Principal of Subplot Design. “The photograph of the gold panner’s hands tells the story in a way that is unique, historic and yet has a modern touch that we think collectors will especially enjoy”.


The stamp celebrates BC’s 150th anniversary with a bold image of a gold panner’s hand and gold pan, which form the province’s eastern border, and was photographed by Vancouver photographer, Clinton Hussey.


“While pivotal, the Fraser River Gold Rush was obviously not the only event in the formation of BC”, continues Subplot Principal Matthew Clark. “The double-sided pane format allowed us to tell that story in more detail.”


The pane header depicts an iconographic skyline, illustrated by Adam Rogers, that tells the chronological story of BC, from the early First Nations inhabitants of the region, to Captain Cook’s mapping of the area, to early settlement of Forts Victoria and Langley, to the parliament building in Victoria, to the modern cosmopolitan city of Vancouver. And the back of the stamp pane gives ample room to celebrate some of the archival images sourced from BC Archives of James Douglas, his wife Amelia, early settlers, gold pans and miners, and the inauguration ceremony at Fort Langley. Here, the images could be given the space they deserve and provide enough variety to tell the great story, all within the same strong layout and design. There are also small little “finds” for collectors, like the faint rushing river image in the background of the pane, and the “prospector” colour bars, which tell a very short story of panning and that “eureka” moment for a single prospector.


Information about the commemorative stamp can be found at, and further information on British Columbia can be found at



Concept & Design: Roy White and Matthew Clark, Subplot Design Inc.

Photograph: Clinton Hussey

Illustration: Adam Rogers

Printing: Lowe-Martin



About Subplot Design Inc.

Subplot Design Inc. is a leading brand design firm with international experience in creating category-defining corporate and consumer brands. We specialize in powerful ideas that build intelligent, relevant, stand-out brands and communications in what has become an increasingly competitive marketplace. From our Vancouver, BC owned and operated offices, we do this with breakthrough creative brand design including Logomarks + Identity, Brand Packaging, Product Design, Print Communications, Annual Reports, and Retail Identities + Environments.