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Rare map stamped for success

A rare and valuable map housed at Memorial University is now getting widespread attention thanks to its incorporation into a stamp celebrating the Cupids 400 anniversary.

Canada Post has created a commemorative stamp to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the founding of the community of Cupids, N.L. – the first continuous English settlement in what would become Canada.

The stamp was unveiled by Canada Post and community representatives on Aug. 17 at the Cupids Legacy Centre in Cupids.

The Cupids 1610-2010 stamp features a portion of a 17th-century map of the Avalon Peninsula – the first map to show the settlement’s location.

The map was prepared by John Mason around 1617 and it was first published with Vaughan’s Cambrensium Caroleia in 1625.

John Mason replaced colony founder John Guy at Cupids. From 1615 to 1621, he was governor of the Colony of Cupids and went on to become one of the two founders of the Colony of Newfoundland Hampshire. He died in 1635 and is buried in Westminster Abbey.

The Mason Map is actually a chart used for navigation by early seamen – as amazing as this seems, considering its lack of detail – up to 1780, when James Cook’s General Chart of Newfoundland became commonly available.

The map is held by Memorial's Centre for Newfoundland Studies (CNS). It can be viewed online thanks to the Digital Archive Initiative and the CNS at,170.

The Cupids stamp also includes images of the uncovered artifacts – coins, glass and rare amber beads –that highlight the commercial impetus that motivated the settlement.

The stamp was designed by Steven Slipp of Semaphor Design.

In August, 1610, English colonists led by Bristol merchant John Guy arrived where Cupids (originally called Cupers Cove) now stands on the north side of Conception Bay on Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula and established an English settlement there.

In 1995, evidence of their colony was uncovered by a team led by archaeologist William Gilbert. Since then, the remains of five early 17th-century structures and more than 145,000 artifacts have been unearthed.

Canada Post will print 1.75 million Cupids stamps with a domestic letter rate of 57 cents. Each has a dimension of 40 mm x 32 mm (horizontal).The official first day cover cancellation will read Cupids, Newfoundland and Labrador.