Today is World Refugee Day and I would like to share a new idea that goes well beyond my original “Let’s put Lotta on a Stamp” idea.
In short, I have proposed to Canada Post that they create an ongoing “Refugees to Canada Who Made a Difference” stamp series, launching this series in 2022 with a commemorative stamp honouring Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova.
You can read the reasons for my proposal below, in correspondence with the Director of Stamp Services:
My sincere thanks go out to the more than 1,300 individuals who signed the “Let’s put Lotta on a Stamp” petition.
I will keep readers updated on any developments, as soon as I learn of them myself.
Here is my letter:
It is my great pleasure to propose to you that a Canadian commemorative stamp be created in the name of Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova, CC (1909-1990).
Here are a few of the reasons why I feel Dr. Lotta – as she affectionately came to be known – should be honoured in this way. Continue reading
Millions of Canadians can still remember her heavily accented voice on those celebrated radio and TV ads in the 1960s and 70s: “This is Lotta Hitschmanova of the Unitarian Service Committee, 56 Sparks Street, Ottawa 4.”
For generations, Lotta was Canada’s most beloved humanitarian, a constant voice of caring and compassion for those in need far away. But the deep-rooted inspiration for Lotta’s lifelong humanitarian mission is not so well known. Continue reading
I wrote this letter to the editor on March 22, 2019 and have sent it to the Ottawa Citizen:
I read with interest this morning’s Ottawa Citizen article, “City’s public consultation yields Sparks Street vision,” and went down to 79 Sparks to check it all out.
I was disappointed to learn that there is no direct reference to Canada’s most famous address, 56 Sparks Street, nor to the celebrated woman who made this address so well known across Canada, Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova, CC (1909-1990).
“I experienced personally how much it hurts to be hungry. To be a refugee, to be without a home, to be without country, to be without friends. And this is something dreadful; you have no more roots, you have no one to turn to.” – Lotta Hitschmanova
June 20, 2018. Today is World Refugee Day, a time to reflect on the millions of refugees and displaced persons around the world.
Humanitarian Lotta Hitschmanova was a WWII refugee who by her actions in the 1940s to 1980s planted the seeds of compassion in her adopted country and indeed around the world. She was a refugee who changed Canada for the better.
To honour her legacy, let’s sign the petition to put Lotta on a commemorative stamp!
Thank you for supporting this and for sharing it with others.
In a remarkable musical development, Canadian cellist and composer, Margaret Maria Tobolowska, has just dedicated a new cello composition – “Her Storm” – to Dr Lotta Hitschmanova.
“Dedicated to all women and girls who bravely live their truth. You are the ones who have and will change the world for the better. Each track honours and celebrates a Canadian woman who inspires me.” Continue reading
“Canada has a long-standing commitment to help the poorest and most vulnerable people in the developing world, particularly women and girls.” Justin Trudeau, Feb 4, 2018.
As we celebrate International Development Week (Feb 4 to 10, 2018), let’s give a thought to one of our pioneering women leaders, Lotta Hitschmanova, and the impact she had on her adopted country, Canada, through her humanitarian work during the 1940s to 1980s.
Quite remarkably, as a refugee, she became perhaps the most prominent Canadian woman of her generation. But more than that, she pushed hard for women’s development around the world, well before this became a key approach followed by international development agencies.
“Development often starts with a woman. Support leadership programs for women through the USC, 56 Sparks Street, Ottawa.” Lotta Hitschmanova, 1978.
Sincere thanks to Tu Thanh Ha for his excellent article in the Globe and Mail that features Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova, her biographer Clyde Sanger, supporter Bruce Cockburn and myself.
He spent a decade in Tanzania, teaching, co-ordinating rural development projects and earning a master’s degree in development studies at the University of Dar es Salaam. “A lot of what Lotta said started to make sense to me,” he said.
It is nice to see the spotlight shone like this on a refugee to Canada who made such an important contribution to her adopted homeland and who connected her new society so deeply to the far corners of the globe.
My hope is that this article will stimulate many others to further explore this fascinating part of Canadian social history.
And of course, launching a campaign to have Lotta’s iconic image on a Canadian postage stamp is now front and centre for 2018!
The City of Ottawa wants your views on how to revitalize Sparks Street, Canada’s first pedestrian mall.
I’d like to add something new to what I wrote in a previous blog post, where I suggested building upon the only pre-existing “anchor” that already draws people from coast to coast to this narrow dark pedestrian mall – that anchor being Canada’s most iconic address, 56 Sparks Street, made famous by celebrated humanitarian, Lotta Hitschmanova, founder of the Unitarian Service Committee, USC Canada.