Montreal Heart Institute, 1954-2004

September 15, 2004

Only 50 years ago, the science of cardiology was in its infancy. A young Montreal doctor, Paul David, was studying in Paris when he was stirred by the healing possibilities of the new specialization and inspired to return to Montreal to create an institution wholly devoted to the development of cardiology.

At the same time, the Grey Nuns were building a new hospital in Montreal. As part of the order's desire to incorporate the most innovative techniques and capabilities of the time, Dr. David was asked to become the new hospital's Head of Cardiology and was given the freedom to develop the department as he wished. The result was the founding of the Montreal Heart Institute, a world-renowned centre dedicated to excellence in cardiac care.

The perfectly square stamp, issued to pay homage to the Institute's 50th anniversary, is self-adhesive with a simulated perf, and features a stylized heart graphic.

Photographs in the four quadrants of the heart-shaped design represent the four essential aspects of the Institute; the practicing and teaching of cardiac surgical techniques and treatments; founder Dr. Paul David; the Institute's building, a Montreal landmark; and finally, a globe, which symbolizes the hospital's international reputation among cardiologists and how its innovations are disseminated throughout the world through its teaching function.

Cutting horizontally through the width of the stamp is an electrocardiogram that represents a heartbeat, the very rhythm of life and the vital necessity of cardiac health.

The stamp was designed by Guénette + Delisle design of Montreal. This is the studio's second stamp design. "We have worked on projects for institutions in the Quebec health care network for 20 years," says partner Louise Delisle. "Like most of those projects, this challenge was to represent the whole of the institution, not just the science. We achieved that by subtly integrating scientific references into the design, such as dividing the heart into four parts to recall the anatomy of the muscle."

This level of scientific authenticity can also be found in the use of red and blue within the heart graphic. As you may remember from high school biology, blood on the right side of the heart is dark blue. The heart's right side pumps this blood to the lungs, where carbon dioxide is traded for oxygen, resulting in the bright red oxygen-rich blood on the heart's left side. The use of blue and red tones on the stamp highlight this vital function.

"We prefer to work from authentic sources when possible," Delisle adds. "For example, the image of the surgeons comes from a photograph in the Institute's archives. Our experience has given us great respect for the medical profession, and the fact that the MHI's specialty focuses on the most powerful symbol of life was especially inspiring."

Today, the Montreal Heart Institute is respected worldwide for its scientific achievements, patient care and teaching capabilities. This stamp celebrates 50 years of its tireless work as the "heart" of cardiac innovation in Quebec and around the world.

See for more information on the Montreal Heart Institute.

Booklet of 8 stamps

Booklet of 8 stamps


  • Product #: 413581111
  • Denomination: 1 x 49¢
  • Design: Guénette + Delisle design
  • Dimensions: 34 mm x 34 mm
  • Printer: Lowe-Martin
  • Printing Process: Lithography in 6 colours plus tag
  • Quantity: 2,500,000
  • Gum Type: Pressure-sensitive
  • Perforations: Kiss cut
  • Tagging: General, 4 sides
  • Photography: Montreal Heart Institute (MHI)
  • Paper Type: Tullis Russell Coatings
  • OFDC Cancellation Location: Montréal, Quebec
Official First Day Cover

Official First Day Cover


  • Product #: 413581131
  • OFDC Cancellation Location: Montréal, Quebec