Sir Sandford Fleming designed Canada’s first postage stamp – the Three Penny Beaver (1851).
When the postmaster general asked him to create an illustration for the first Canadian postage stamp, Sandford Fleming did not choose the traditional portrait of Queen Victoria. Instead, he suggested the beaver, and this choice helped make the animal a symbol of Canada.
The symbol referred both to the beaver’s role as the foundation of the Canadian economy for many years and to the animal’s industrious habits, which Fleming felt were a Canadian character trait. On April 23, 1851, the “three-penny beaver” went on sale.