Early airmail stamps trigger tales of adventure

Today, more than 40 years after man first walked on the moon, and when transatlantic flights are taken with a grain of salt, we have to strain to think about what it must have been like for those early adventurers. First off, they didn’t have autopilot, GPS, satellites, radar, and constant radio contact with the ground. They had compasses, clocks, basic instruments, and if they wanted to know exactly where they were, the navigator used a sextant. The engines were often unreliable and unproven, and even aircraft design was still partly an element of guesswork. Continue reading →

Envelope celebrates musical legacy of Canada’s Royal Conservatory

Canada Post has issued a commemorative envelope for the 125th anniversary of the Royal Conservatory (RC), one of the largest and most respected music and arts education institutions in the world. As it grew to become one of the dominant musical institutions in Canada, so did its reputation for professional training, its national examination system, and its faculty of distinguished musicians. Over the years, some of Canada’s most famous musicians studied at the Royal Conservatory, including Glenn Gould, Oscar Peterson, David Foster, Sarah McLachlan and Angela Hewitt. Continue reading →

Canadian football worth celebrating

It seems that Canadian football fell out of fashion and everyone began watching the “important” teams from south of the border. You know, those guys who play on a smaller field and need an extra down to try to make 10 yards. The CFL, by nature of being Canadian, seemed to be somehow less, especially in southern Ontario, which despite the lessons of the War of 1812, often draws its cultural identity from our celebrity neighbour. This year, things changed. The CFL managed to get Canadians excited about a big number, the 100th playing of the Grey Cup, a championship that many Canadians often don’t even remember who won. Continue reading →

Nestlé Turtles stamp pokes its head out

A corporate use of picture postage has created a stir in the stamp collecting community. In early November, Canada Post outlets started selling packages of Turtles chocolate candies with prepaid postage using the new oversize-rate stamp that is now part of the picture postage series. It was the first use of the new rate, which was announced earlier in the year. Originally it had been planned to take effect Nov. 5, but that launch was rescheduled to Dec. 3. The Turtles stamp features what Canada Post describes as a vintage turtle created in a dots design, with the $1.29 rate. Canada Post spokesperson Anick Losier told Canadian Stamp News that the packages were being sold in about 4,000 post offices for $4.95. Continue reading →

Stamps disappearing, but the hobby won’t

There is nothing that collectors, Canadian Stamp News, or even Canada Post can do to reverse these long-term trends. However, there is reason to take heart. While the quantity of stamps being issued is dropping, the quality is going up at a staggering rate. By that I mean that we are seeing stamps being produced using interesting security features, such as fluorescent design elements, stamps that interact with our smartphones, and even stamps that we can create on our own, and then have drop-shipped on postcards we create on the fly. These are interesting stamps that catch the imagination. Continue reading →

December mail volume expected to hit a billion

The December mail amounts of approximately 25 per cent of Canada Post’s annual retail transactions and nearly 20 per cent of the mail sent into Canada from around the world is during the holiday season. The five biggest mailers to Canada are the United States, Britain, China, Hong Kong and South Korea. According to Cote, the single busiest day for processing mail was expected to be Dec. 13, with the heaviest delivery day being Dec. 21. Continue reading →

Personalized stamps need a place in the numbering – now

I believe that some of the personalized postage issues belong among the regular Canada Post listings in references, rather than lumped in the back of the book. The reasons, I believe, are compelling. Now, I am not talking about Uncle John and Aunt Mary standing around the Christmas tree, or even the new specialized issues, but personalized postage stamps created by Canada Post and sold to the public for use on mail. There are a small number of stamps that fit this category. Not, for instance, the Royal Conservatory stamps of last year, which were only sold cancelled on commemorative envelopes. No, the specific stamps I am talking about would be typified by the 2011 Eid, Hanukkah, and Diwali stamps. Continue reading →

Water snake rings in Lunar New Year

Canada Post will continue its second series of lunar zodiac stamps with two issues for the Year of the Snake. This year’s stamps, designed by Joe Gault and Avi Dunkleman of MIX Design Group and calligrapher Tan Chao Chang, feature a water snake. The snake represents intelligence, materialism and gracefulness. Those born in the Year of the Snake tend to be analytical and lovers of luxury. It is the fifth year in a row that two stamps have been issued in the series. Continue reading →

Overindulgent stamp issues not always bad

I have to admit that I am a big fan of the British television series Dr. Who. For most of my life I have been watching a succession of “doctors” battle a selection of British actors in rubber masks through space or time. The series, which is now 50 years old, obviously has staying power. Now I am not a “Whovian,” the name given to hardcore fans, many of who dress up as their favourite characters and attend events. Frankly, I think those folks have taken the idea of liking something to a bit of an extreme. I do, whoever, have a Dr. Who poster in my bedroom, but that’s as far as it goes. Really, you have to believe me on this. Continue reading →

Magnolias bloom on new flower stamps

New releases for the new year honour great Canadians, celebrate our birth months and help us see the flowery side of life. First, on Feb. 1, Canada Post will issue two stamps for Black History Month. This year’s stamps will honour jazz great Oliver Jones and Seraphim “Joe” Fortes, the longtime lifeguard and swimming instructor at Vancouver’s English Bay. The two men are featured in more detail elsewhere in this issue, (See Richard Logan’s article on page 16). Continue reading →

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