More of the same… or is it?

Frankly, I wondered if we would see similar changes in the regular stamp lineup. The truth is, stamp programs have some flexibility, but the 2013 issues were well on the road to being settled months ago. What I do see are a couple of interesting issues such as motorcycles and ghost stories, which seem a bit out of the ordinary. But on a second look, they are not that much different from issues such as Canadian motor vehicles, and the spooky stamp month issue of some 15 or more years ago. The truth is, this stamp program, with the exception of some as-yet-undefined special effects, is not that different from those of past years. Continue reading →

Canada Post presents haunting 2013 program

Canada Post’s 2013 stamp program runs the gamut, with everything from motorcycles to pets. At the end of May, Canada Post unveiled the program, although in some cases details were somewhat sketchy. “The diversity of Canada is reflected in this year’s stamp program, offering a stamp every Canadian can identify with, whether it is history or rock and roll,” said Minister of State (Transport) Steven Fletcher, who is also the minister responsible for Canada Post. Continue reading →

CFL still biggest game in some towns

Weather permitting, we played football in backyards, inventing ways to play two-on-one, or even two-on-three, running the length of the yard for a down, then turning around and running the other way for a touchdown. For me, life was simple and Russ Jackson was the king. Then, over the years, something happened. When I moved to southern Ontario I discovered that the most populated part of Canada, star-struck by the drawing power of our neighbours to the south, was enamoured with the National Football League. What’s your favourite team? was more likely to bring a response such as Miami or Buffalo, instead of Ottawa or Hamilton. One day, a friend of mine remarked, “They will hold a Grey Cup game in Toronto and nobody in the city will notice.” I’ve seen that happen twice. Continue reading →

Canada Post goes no-huddle with Cup’s 100th

The CFL started out in the 1880s as the Canadian Rugby Football Union; the game was originally known as rugby. The league evolved over the years, as did the game. While Canadian football is now more like United States gridiron football, it retains several rugby traditions such as only three down, a larger field, and more players on the field. The Grey Cup was donated in 1909 by the then-Governor General of Canada, the fourth Earl Grey. No games were played from 1916 to 1919 due to the First World War. Continue reading →

Universal health care a newer, but defining Canadian detail

That short history lesson reminds us that something we have come to take for granted really is quite a recent innovation. So it is nice to see a stamp that reminds us that this part of our identity is so very new; much newer than Confederation. I often joke that Canadians often define themselves in two ways: one, that they have universal health care, and two, that they are not residents of the United States. If that’s the case, these stamps are very truly Canadian. Continue reading →

Douglas stamp marks nation’s health care shift

Tommy Douglas, the person best associated with Medicare and a person voted the Greatest Canadian by CBC viewers in 2004, is the subject of a new stamp issue. As a young boy Douglas developed an infection that would have cost him his leg. He was able to receive medical treatment only after his father met a surgeon who agreed to treat him in order to teach students. Later in life he became a Baptist preacher in Weybourn, Sask. Always a believer in social activism, he also became involved in politics. Continue reading →

Canada’s role in Korean War often forgotten

The truth is that many Canadians forget that this nation committed an entire infantry brigade with supporting troops to that war. That is a significantly larger commitment than at any time in Afghanistan, and remains, in fact our largest commitment of military personnel since the Second World War. The irony comes from the fact that Canada Post has no announced plans to issue a stamp next year to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the conflict. It is a symbol of how, to most Canadians, the Korean War seems more about M*A*S*H reruns than about very human sacrifices and suffering. I suggest that if Canada Post wants to save the day here, it can issue a 2014-dated stamp marking the return to Canada of the last troops sent to Korea. The best way to remember a war is to remember the peace that came afterwards. Continue reading →

South Korean stamps honour Canadian veteran

South Korea has issued postage stamps honouring a Canadian veteran of the Korean War. The stamps were unveiled June 22, but commemorate the 100th birthday on July 5 of Maj. Campbell Lane, the oldest Commonwealth veteran of the conflict, which took place from 1950 to 1953. At a brief ceremony in Ottawa, where Lane lives, a citation was read from South Korean Veterans Minister Park Sung Choon. “To our knowledge, no other Commonwealth veteran has achieved this most impressive milestone,” it stated. “The 49 million people of Korea send him 49 million wishes for a most happy birthday.” Continue reading →

Irv knows the stamps of tomorrow are invested in young artists of today

Irv Osterer is to be commended for challenging high school students to design stamps and related products. While it is debatable how many, if any, of his young charges will actually turn into commercial stamp artists or collectors, he nonetheless is reaching out to a group of young people. As a parent, I know that many of these people not only don’t collect stamps, they don’t even use them. What’s more, with regular post offices closing all over Canada, I doubt many young people even know where to buy a stamp. This is all just a sign of the times. Continue reading →

Students create philatelic tribute to Jack Layton

The Grade 11 students had to research not only Layton’s distinctive look, but also the challenges in creating art for an image as tiny as a stamp. The students had their choice of media, ranging from watercolour to caricature. The finished designs were then treated digitally, to create the final stamp representations. Students also created cancellation, first-day cover (FDC), and booklet designs. The FDC “cancels” are marked July 18, Layton’s birthday. The project proved an interesting one at a time when many youngsters have never even used postage stamps. Continue reading →

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