Canada’s 2017 Black History Month stamp, issued at the domestic rate, commemorates Mathieu Da Costa who is believed to be the first person of African descent to reach Canada.
From the few records available, it is concluded that he was a free man, of African or even Euro-African descent, who earned a living as an interpreter for the Europeans who were trading with the Indigenous people of the New World. His connection to Canada began in 1608, the year Québec was founded, when he signed a contract to work for French fur-trader, explorer and governor of Acadia, Pierre de Mons.
As no portrait of Da Costa was available from which to create an image, it was a challenge to ensure that the period clothing reflects Da Costa’s time and social status. A first day cover for the stamp issue is cancelled in Tadoussac, Quebec, where historians believe Da Costa may have first come ashore.
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