A brief history of Canadian Air Mail Flights
The First Semi-Official Air Mail stamp,
produced by Laurentide Air Services in 1924.
The last of the Semi-Official Air Mail stamps,
produced by Canadian Airways Limited in 1934.
At first these stamps could only be placed at the back of the envelope, and were not allowed to show a value in case they were confused with regular postage stamps. These restrictions were later relaxed.
The Post Office first budgeted money for air mail services in 1927. It began with experimental service between Montreal and Rimouski, designed to connect with trans-Atlantic steamers, and to speed up mail to and from Europe. This was soon followed by additional services, mainly to points that were cut off during winter. No extra charge was made for initial air mail services. No official cachets were produced for these early services, although mail prepared by dealers with unofficial cachets can be found. The Post Office did not begin providing cachets until 1928.
In 1928 the Post Office flights were divided into two types:
AIR MAIL SERVICES which provided a faster service than regular air mail. A higher fee was charged for these services after October 1st 1928; and Canada's first government air mail stamp was issued ten days earlier on September 21st 1928.
AIR STAGE SERVICES which carried all the mail to a point which was very difficult to reach be other means. Mail was normally flown on these services without an additional charge for air mail service, but when a new service was introduced, the air mail rate had to be paid if a First Flight cachet was required.
On March 1st 1939, Trans-Canada Airlines inaugurated a daily air mail service between Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. To mark this occasion, the Post Office produced forty different First Flight cachets. After this many new air mail routes were opened, but only rarely did the Post Office produce First Flight cachets for them.
On July 1st 1948, ALL UP SERVICE was introduced: all first Class mail within Canada, weighing up to one ounce, then received Air Mail treatment, without the payment of additional fee. This service was gradually expanded until it covered most letters carried in Canada, to the United States, and overseas.