Image: Eleanor Collins. Image credit: Twitter handle of Canada Post
#CanadaPost; #NewStamp; #EleanorCollins; #JazzLegend; #Indigenous; #Performer
Toronto/CMEDIA: A new stamp was unveiled on Jan 21 at a virtual ceremony by Canada Post honoring 102-year-old jazz legend Eleanor Collins and paying tribute to her life and legacy ahead of Black History Month.
Even after breaking several barriers to become known as Canada’s first lady of jazz, Eleanor Collins was reported to say that it’s still “surreal” to see herself featured on a stamp.
On her 95th birthday in 2014, Collins was invested into the Order of Canada for being a civic leader and pioneer in the development of British Columbia’s music industry.
Born in Edmonton to parents of African American and Indigenous heritage, Collins now lives in British Columbia and began performing in the 1930s on television and radio shows across the country
She worked with a range of famous musicians, including Dizzy Gillespie and Montreal-born jazz pianist Oscar Peterson.
Collins became part of the first interracial cast on Canadian television in 1954 when she joined CBC’s television program Bamboula: A Day in the West Indies. She starred in The Eleanor Show, a year later, which made her the first woman and first Black artist to headline their own national television series.
But Collins faced discrimination both professionally and personally, despite her success.
In the 1940s, Collins moved to an all-white neighborhood in Burnaby, B.C. with her husband and kids and her neighbors started an unsuccessful petition to prevent her family from moving in.