When I was doing a bit of research on Yves Baril, I came across a reference to Canadian Tire Coupons. I remembered having seen those before and soon remembered it was Charles Gordon Yorke who is also linked to these coupons. So it was high time I looked into the matter and when I did I soon stumbled upon the collectors club and its very helpful members! A frantic email correspondence followed which eventually cleared things up no end!
So here we go: Canadian Tire is a Canadian retail company selling much more than just gas and tires. Ever since the 1950s, they have had this customer loyalty programme based on coupons. These coupons are given out for purchases paid for by cash or debit, based on the pre-tax total excluding labour and shop supplies costs, etc. It used to be at a rate of 5% of the eligible purchase price but that has since been lowered to 0.5%. The coupons could be used to buy anything in the stores and at the gas stations but nowadays they can only be used in the stores.
The first coupons were introduced in 1958. They were recess-printed by the British American Banknote Company (BABN), with some being printed by Canadian Tire themselves.
I have no further details on who engraved them, which is a shame for there are at least two different engraved scenes on the back. Originally, they had a rural scene on the back, and the copies I have, have the Canadian map on the back. Oh well, maybe some day we'll find out more!
It is the second type of coupon where it gets interesting for us. One of the members found a signed die proof of the portrait of Sandy McTire (love that name!) which proved without doubt that it was done by Yorke. In an old journal of the Canadian Paper Money Society it was even mentioned that Yorke was 'quite proud of it'! This second type was introduced in 1961, again printed by the BABN, although the Canadian Bank Note Company (CBN) took over at some stage.
Yorke's portrait was also used on so-called auxiliary or lubritorium coupons, but these are no longer recess-printed. I do quite like the fact that they include Sandy's 'signature', though, as well as the tartan frame.
Moving forward to 1992, we see a third type being introduced, which is still used today. It is printed by the CBN. Now, even though we found no hard evidence, it is highly likely that this third type was engraved by Yves Baril. After all, Baril worked for the CBN and not for the BABN, so if he has done anything on the coupons, it can't have been for the first type, so it has to be this third coupon which he engraved.
For those who feel a bit of a collecting bug coming on, I believe there are over 600 different types of coupons to be collected, all relatively affordable. So that's you all sorted for the next couple of years!
With thanks to the members of the Canadian Tire Coupon Collectors Club, and especially to Doug Adams who coordinated this search so skilfully and enthusiastically. Cheers!