Notes from the Past

Canadian First Airmail?

Sometime prior to 1950, a Canadian cover was discovered bearing an intriguing cachet that read FROM WINNIPEG | BY FIRST AERIAL ROUTE | THOMAS McGOEY, AVIATOR.  The envelope was postmarked at Winnipeg, Manitoba at 9:30 A.M. on May 10, 1912, and was addressed to Toronto.  To it a date stamp was also applied at Grand View, Ontario, on May 14.  This cover stirs many questions.  Was it actually flown?  If so, it is an extremely early pioneer example from Canada.  Who undertook the flight?  Pilot Thomas McGoey was ill in Grand Forks North dakota, at the time the letter was supposed to have departed Winnipeg.

Whether the McGoey letter flew or not, it remains clear that the airmail bug had bitten at least a few Canadians as early as May 1912.

Posted September 16, 2000

Editor's Note:  This came from Donald B. Holmes' Air Mail -- an illustrated history 1793-1981 - an exceptional piece of philatelic literature.  It seems quite likely that someone may have created a hoax at a later date and that the cachet was applied to a cover found in some dealer's dime box somewhere.

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