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Portia White
Date of issue of stamp:
December 17, 1999
Designed by: Fraser Ross and based on an illustration by Bonnie Ross and a photograph by Yousuf Karsh.

With a background of a close up portrait by Joseph Karsh, a full image of Portia White in performance is shown with word and music scores as a secondary background.

Series : Millennium Collection , Extraordinary Entertainers

1,000,000 copies of the stamp were printed by Ashton-Potter Ltd.

© Canada Post Corporation
Reproduced with permission
Portia May White. Born Truro, Nova Scotia June 24, 1911 Died February 13, 1968. As a child she sang in her Baptist church choir. Her professional career began its assent i1941 with an appearance at the Eaton Auditorium in Toronto. In 1944 she became the first black Canadian woman to appear in the New York Town Hall, where she was touted as the “Canadian Marion Anderson”. She toured in Canada, the U.S.A. and Latin America before returning for further studies in Toronto. She would teach at the all girls school of Branksome Hall and eventually open her own studio. She was very proud to perform before Queen Elizabeth II in a Command Performance in 1964. Even though she was an extraordinary contralto, her career was hampered by racial prejudice shown against black artists at the time. In 1999, some 30 years after her death , her family released a private CD “First You Dream”. Canada Post released a special stamp in her honour as part of it millennium celebration series.