The first issue of Canada Post‘s 2020 stamp program will hit post offices across the country beginning today.
Designer Stéphane Huot, who also designed the first two From Far and Wide sets, maintained the series’ aesthetic continuity while using “a fresh colour palate” to feature new locales.
“The challenge is to establish a design platform that can be repeated, but that can also evolve,” said Huot upon the release of last year’s “From Far and Wide” set.
“In the ‘From Far and Wide’ series, the evolution is the result of the images chosen for the background of the souvenir sheet and a strong and distinctive colour scheme that establishes the tone for the series.”
From the west to east coasts, this year’s nine-stamp set includes:
- Yukon Territory’s Herschel Island Qikiqtaruk Territorial Park;
- Northwest Territories’ Carcajou Falls;
- Alberta’s Abraham Lake;
- British Columbia’s Kootenay National Park;
- Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Sand Dunes Provincial Park;
- New Brunswick’s Swallowtail Lighthouse
- Prince Edward Island’s French River;
- Québec’s Îles de la Madeleine; and
- Nova Scotia’s Cabot Trail.
The set includes five Permanent domestic-rate stamps and another four paying the single-stamp domestic, U.S., oversized and international rates. They were printed by Lowe-Martin using five-colour lithography and PVA gum, and each stamp edge shows distinct images under a blacklight.
The stamps are available in:
- booklets of 10 Permanent stamps;
- coils of 100 Permanent stamps;
- coils of 50 $1.07 single-stamp domestic-rate stamps;
- coils of 50 $1.30 U.S.-rate stamps;
- booklets of six $1.30 U.S.-rate stamps;
- coils of 50 $1.94 oversized-rate stamps;
- booklets of six $1.94 oversized-rate stamps;
- coils of 50 $2.71 international-rate stamps;
- booklets of six $2.71 international-rate stamps; and
- souvenir sheets of all nine stamps.
Postcards of all nine locations and a souvenir sheet official first-day cover, the latter of which is serviced with a cancel from Radium Hot Springs, B.C., were also issued as part of the new set.
Radium Hot Springs is the closest town to Kootenay National Park, which celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2020.
The first two From Far and Wide sets are listed in the Unitrade Specialized Catalogue of Canadian Stamps as Scott #3056-78 (2018) and SC #3138-60 (2019).
A potential fourth From Far and Wide set – to be issued in 2021 – remains unconfirmed, according to Canada Post.
“Although the From Far and Wide series has been very successful, we cannot confirm if the series will be part of the 2021 stamp program as it has not yet been approved or announced,” said Nicole Lecompte, media relations for the Crown corporation, who added the 2021 stamp program will be finalized in the coming months.
POSTAL RATES UPPED
Canada’s postal rates also increased for the second consecutive year effective Jan. 13, the same day the From Far and Wide set was issued. The price of an individual stamp for a domestic letter weighing 30 grams (or fewer) increased to $1.07 (up from $1.05). The rate for stamps purchased in booklets, coils or panes is now 92 cents each (up from 90 cents) while domestic registered mail increased from $9.50 to $9.75. There are also rate increases for other domestic weights plus United States and international mail. The increases were made “to help Canada Post continue to meet its USO (universal service obligation), to offer an accessible, affordable and cost-effective postal service to all Canadians no matter where they live, and to operate on a self-sustaining financial basis,” according to the Jan. 8 Canada Gazette Part II (Vol. 154, No. 1), the official newspaper of the Government of Canada. It’s the fourth rate increase since 2014 and the 14th in the past decade, during which time the cost of mailing a letter in Canada has risen 70 per cent from 54 cents to 92 cents.
Later this week, on Jan. 16, Canada Post will unveil its second 2020 release, this from the long-running Lunar New Year series.
This year’s issue marks the Year of the Rat with a “Rat’s Wedding” theme. It will be the final issue from the popular collection that began in 1997 and has since seen two separate 12-year series issued.
Also known as the “Rat’s Marriage,” the Chinese folk story tells the tale of “a worship ceremony hosted in many places in China,” according to an article posted to 21chineseculture.com, an online guide to Chinese culture.
Rounding out Canada Post’s January releases is a continuation of the Black History Month series, which began in 2009 with a pair of stamps honouring Abraham Doras Shadd – believed to be the first black person to hold public office in Canada – and Rosemary Brown, who was the first black woman to become a member of a Canadian parliamentary body when she was elected to British Columbia’s legislature in 1972.
This year’s Black History Month issue will commemorate the “Colored Hockey Championship.”