New stamps honour Queen, monkey and UNESCO sites

Canada Post is off to a busy start in 2016 with the launch of stamps celebrating the Year of the Monkey, five definitive stamps featuring Canadian UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a new black and white stamp of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth taken by a legendary fashion photographer.

On Jan. 7, Canada Post unveiled the images that will be featured on commemorative stamps celebrating the Year of the Monkey, which begins Feb. 8, 2016 and ends Jan. 27, 2017. The Monkey is the eighth stamp in Canada Post’s 12-year Lunar New Year series, which began with the Ox. The stamps are being released in two waves – one for domestic (Jan. 11), another for international (Feb. 1).  All stamps and related products can be pre-ordered on

On Jan. 11, Canada Post released the latest in a long line of Canadian stamps honouring The Queen, which features a black-and-white portrait of the Queen taken by British photographer David Bailey. The photo, taken at Buckingham Palace in 2014 to mark the Queen’s 88th birthday, shows Her Majesty in a dress chosen by Angela Kelly, her personal assistant and senior dresser. The Queen is wearing pearls and smiling easily. In his portrait, Bailey successfully homed in on what he described as The Queen’s “very kind eyes” and “mischievous glint.”

Also issued on Jan. 11 were five definitive stamps featuring the Canadian UNESCO sites. The stamps feature images of Old Town Lunenburg, N.S. ; SGang Gwaay, B.C. ; the Rideau Canal in Ont.; the Landscape of Grand Pré, N.S. ; and Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump in Alberta. Canadian World Heritage sites are designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.


Domestic and international stamps were inspired by the legend of the Monkey King, also known as Sun Wukong, one of the main characters in the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West. Also transformed into a famous Chinese opera, the story tells of how the sovereign accompanied the monk Xuanzang on a journey to India to retrieve sacred Buddhist texts known as sutras.

Designed by Albert Ng and Linna Xu, the domestic stamp depicts a golden figure that is vibrant and alive against a rich red background that provides a stark and striking contrast, while the international-rate stamp features a stylized Monkey King mask with red and gold accents. Popular Chinese New Year’s greetings appear at the edge of the pane of 25 and on the official first-day covers (OFDCs).

The Year of the Monkey domestic and international stamps measure 32 mm x 32 mm and the souvenir sheet 40 mm x 140 mm. In the first wave issued Jan.11: a Permanent stamp that comes in a pane of 25 or a booklet of 10 (stamps in the pane are embossed and foiled); Permanent stamp OFDCs; and a postcard.

Available Feb. 1 will be: an international stamp that comes in a booklet of six; a single stamp souvenir sheet that includes foil and embossing; a transitional souvenir sheet that honours both the Ram (2015) and the Monkey (2016) and includes foil and embossing; a souvenir sheet OFDC; an Uncut Press Sheet with foil and embossing; a postcard; and frames.

Those born in the Year of the Monkey are said to possess brilliance, flexibility and inventiveness, along with an excellent memory and strong will to succeed. They can, however, be easily frustrated by delays, tend to look down on others and have a fast-flaring temper. Canadians born to this lunar year include singer Céline Dion, actress Kim Cattrall and legendary pianist Glenn Gould.


Designed by Steven Slipp of Wolfville N.S., the stamp measures 20.25 mm x 23.25 mm and has simulated perforation. The stamp is printed by Lowe-Martin on Tullis Russell paper using four-colour lithography. It is pressure sensitive and the official first-day cover is cancelled in Victoria, BC. The stamp, booklets of 10, and the OFDC are available at post offices across the country and at


This series brings these lush landscapes to Canada in permanent stamps issued in booklets of 10 and 30. The domestic-rate stamps, measuring 24 mm by 20 mm, are also available in a souvenir sheet of five stamps, a souvenir sheet official first-day cover and five prepaid postcards. The OFDC will be cancelled in Ottawa, Ont. Lara Minja, of Victoria, B.C.-based Lime Design, created the stamps.

The shape of the visual frame, with one rounded corner, adds a special touch to the composition. A splash of red in the flag at the bottom contrasts with the richness of the imagery. The stamps and related products are available at post offices across the country and at – where stamp images can also be downloaded.

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