fort chipewyan alberta

Rest in peace, Alexander MacKenzie.  A Scotsman, MacKenzie sailed to the Colonies in 1774 while still in his youth and ended up in Montreal during the American War for Independence (his family being staunch Loyalists).  After a number of trans-Atlantic crossings, in October 1792 he set out from Fort Chipewyan in Alberta, heading for the Pacific Ocean–and arrived in Bella Coola, BC, in July 1793, beating Lewis & Clark’s transcontinental voyage by a good 12 years.  He left the above message on a rock in vermilion and bear grease (Canada was still an informal name at that point and referred to the area in what is now Southern Quebec, formerly part of New France) (the original message was later inscribed permanently by following surveyors).  MacKenzie eventually returned to the British Isles and died on this date in 1820 at the approximate age of 56 (his birth date was unrecorded).

Stamp details:
Issued on: June 25, 1970
From: Ottawa, Canada
MC #459