You probably know iconic cartoonist Bruce MacKinnon’s work from seeing it in the pages of The Chronicle Herald over the past 35 years but the next time you look at your mail, you might just see one of his cartoons in the top right corner as Canada Post stamp.
MacKinnon was one of five editorial cartoonists honoured by Canada Post this week with a collectors stamp that features one of their most celebrated cartoons.
Canada Post chose MacKinnon’s 2018 cartoon that pays tribute to the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team that was involved in a deadly bus crash in Saskatchewan. The cartoon shows a hockey player dressed in the Humboldt Broncos green and gold colours, slouched over on his skates with the word “Sask” across his back. He is supported by 10 other players dressed in red with the provinces’ short forms on their jerseys.
“It is a tremendous honour,” said MacKinnon from his Halifax studio. “I didn’t expect it and my head is still spinning a little from it. I think the biggest thing is being in the company of the other cartoonists.”
The Canada Post new stamp collection also features Serge Chapleau from La Presse, Brian Gable with The Globe and Mail, Terry Mosher of the Montreal Gazette and Duncan Macpherson from the Toronto Star.
MacKinnon has worked at The Chronicle Herald since 1986 and has published more than 8,000 cartoons. He has won almost every award, including 21 Atlantic Journalism awards, six national newspaper awards and was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2016.
After 35 years of grinding it out under the strain of the daily deadlines, MacKinnon said it doesn’t get any easier, but he still relishes the opportunity to draw caricatures and communicate with the audience.
“I feel like the luckiest guy in the world and I really love it, but by the same token, there are days when I hate it and I’d rather be laying bricks,” he said. “You still have that deadline at the end of the day and sometimes that pulls really great things out of you and sometimes it just drives your blood pressure up.”
With such a decorated career already behind him, MacKinnon has seen his illustrations displayed in a lot of different places from the U.S. Library of Congress to bathrooms stalls in local pubs but he never thought he would see his drawings on a postage stamp.
“I like to draw on a fairly large scale and the older I get the bigger I want to draw and for it all to come down to the size of a stamp, I didn’t think it would actually be legible, but it turned out OK,” said MacKinnon.
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MacKinnon sees himself as a columnist, using satire and humour using images instead of words. He says his images and illustrations tell the story, usually making the audience or reader laugh and sometimes cry, depending on the topic.
“For me, it’s always been about drawing and I think I can get my message through quicker and with more impact if done right than most columnists can with a column,” said MacKinnon. “We as cartoonists have a tremendous advantage in being able to do that.”