Canada heralds in Chinese Year of Ram with a new stamp
Updated: 2015-01-09 11:09
TORONTO - Canada's national carrier launched a commemorative stamp in Toronto on Thursday to honor the upcoming Chinese Year of Ram. Canada Post's Atrium at the Bay office was the site of a media scrum more fitting of a rock personality than a stamp.
The auspicious stamp was unveiled by Jim Phillips, Canada Post's director of stamp services, and Zhang Chuanbing, Chinese acting consul general in Toronto, along with stamp designer Helene L'Heureux.
"The Lunar New Year is a time that honors both deities and ancestors, and the Lunar New Year is the most important date in the Chinese calendar and an important date in Canada Post's philatelic calendar," Jim Philips waxed euphorically.
This year, L'Heureux was given the honor of designing these sought-after stamps. L'Heureux shared her thoughts on her design inspiration for the stamp. "I looked inside books, libraries, and museums and I found this interpretation of the three rams breeding in spring. It meant good luck. " the French-Canadian designer told Xinhua.
Her design is a collaboration with famous Hong Kong-born calligrapher Ngan Siu-Mui and Susan Scott, a Montreal wood-cut printer. Three rams with magnificent horns are seen in profile in bas-relief on an embossed red and green spring motif. The stamps are a fecund celebration of renewal, she said.
"Throughout our work with this stamp, the ram is a sacred symbol of good fortune," Philips said. The two stamps in this series are the domestic rate of 0.85 Canadian dollars featuring the three rams and the international rate 2.50 dollars shown in a typical Chinese scroll format. The text on the stamps is in Chinese, English and French.
The Year of the Ram stamp is the seventh of the second twelve-year series which started in 1997. Canada Post's Commemorative Stamp Program is more than 160 years old and it began with Sir Sanford Flemming who designed in 1851 the Three-Penny Beaver stamp.
Over the years, the stamps have become Canada Post's unique way of ringing in the new year and to celebrate the diverse cultures within the community. The launch attracted many long-time stamp collectors like Baljit Sidhu. "The stamps give me something to look back on. It's like basically it's history, ancient history," said the 71-year-old.