Three sets of stamps celebrating astronomy, sharks and weather phenomena have been unveiled by Canada Post.
The first set – to be issued June 29 – features awe-inspiring photographs of the night sky’s tranquil beauty taken by two Canadians. Issued to mark the 150th anniversary of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, the pair of stamps pays tribute to the organization and its commitment to promote the study of astronomy through public outreach.
“Photographing the stars makes me pay attention to the ebbs and flows of nature,” said Matt Quinn, whose photo of the Milky Way as seen from Bruce Peninsula National Park in Ontario is featured on one of the stamps. “It reminds me to place my priorities on what truly matters.”
The other stamp features a photo by Alberta’s Alan Dyer, who captured the northern lights over Churchill, Man., after decades of experimentation. Drawn to the ever-changing night sky, he relishes the immediate result that digital cameras have brought to his work. For Dyer, “looking up rekindles a childlike sense of wonder that can add so much enjoyment to our lives.”
This set will be issued in booklets of 10 stamps and souvenir sheets of two stamps. Designed by Parcel, the stamps were printed by Colour Innovations using seven-colour lithography.
Coordinates, date, time and camera settings for each photograph are hidden in the tagging – visible only under a black light – of both stamps.
A souvenir sheet official first-day cover (OFDC) cancelled in Calgary, Alta., will also be issued.
FIVE-STAMP SHARK SET
Despite being demonized by popular fiction and movies, sharks are some of the most fascinating and diverse creatures on Earth.
They are also among the world’s oldest surviving species; their earliest ancestors are believed to have swam the seas at least 420 million years ago.
“Over the past few years – thanks in part to Discovery’s mid-summer Shark Week programming and TV movie franchises such as Sharknado – interest in these denizens of the deep has risen,” wrote Jim Phillips, Canada Post director of stamp services, in the Crown corporation’s June-July issue of Details magazine. “Our Sharks issue, which features five of these fascinating creatures that either inhabit or visit our waters, swims into post offices on July 13. It’s going to be quite a catch.”
Canada’s coastal waters serve as a permanent or temporary home to nearly 30 shark varieties, five of which are depicted on stamps designed by Andrew Perro and illustrated by Julius Csotonyi.
The endangered white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) – known more dramatically as the “great white” – inhabits Atlantic waters and occasionally travels to our west coast, making rare visits around Haida Gwaii during warm-water events.
Native to Canadian waters, the basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) can grow up to nine metres long on a diet of plankton and other tiny organisms. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) has also assessed this species as endangered in the Pacific region and as a special concern in the Atlantic.
Once assessed as a special concern by COSEWIC but no longer considered at risk, the blue shark (Prionace glauca) makes its home in the Atlantic.
The slow-swimming Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus) found on the Atlantic side of the Arctic enjoys a longevity greater than any other vertebrate on Earth—more than 400 years, in fact.
A visitor to our Atlantic coast, the shortfin mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus) is the fastest shark on the planet and can reach speeds of 50 km/h or more.
This set will be issued July 13 in booklets of 10 stamps; souvenir sheets of five stamps; and uncut press sheets of 25 stamps. They were printed by Lowe-Martin using four-colour lithography.
A souvenir sheet OFDC cancelled in Vancouver, B.C., will also be issued.
Visitors to Canada could be excused for thinking an intense interest in the weather (not hockey) is this country’s national pastime. Too cold, too hot or just right—Canadians always have something to say on the subject, yet nothing inspires meteorological murmurs more than some of the fleeting, fabulous phenomena that can appear when weather permits.
“There’s an old joke that says there are two seasons in Canada – winter and construction. We beg to differ,” wrote Phillips. “The summery nature of the stamps in this issue celebrates the much-appreciated warmth and freedom this season brings. Speaking of weather (and honestly, when don’t we?), you’ll also find five mesmerizing meteorological phenomena in part two of our Weather Wonders series.”
Another set of stamps, which follow Canada Post’s first weather-themed issue in 2015, will showcase five other weather wonders, including:
- steam fog;
- a moon halo;
- a waterspout;
- lenticular clouds; and
- light pillars.
Captured in Canada by amateur and professional photographers with endless patience, keen eyes and some luck, these photos reveal the awesome power and beauty of nature.
Timmy Joe Elzinga, a resident of North Bay, Ont., used his smartphone to shoot the otherworldly photo of light pillars—ethereal bands of light that appear when tiny ice crystals in the air reflect light from artificial sources. Awoken one cold January night by his young son, Elzinga noticed the strange lights out the bathroom window.
“Red, blue, green, yellow, purple and pink lights seemed to beam up in to the air,” he said. “It almost looked like something out of Star Trek.”
This set will be issued July 26 in booklets of 10 stamps and souvenir sheets of five stamps. Designed by Entro Communications, the stamps were printed by Lowe-Martin using four-colour lithography.
A souvenir sheet OFDC cancelled in North Bay, Ont., will also be issued.
TO BE CONTINUED…
The next issue of Details will focus on Canadian wildlife and tell the stories of everyday heroes in communities from coast to coast as the following stamps take the spotlight:
- Birds of Canada (the last issue of the series) on Aug. 20;
- Emergency Responders on Sept. 14 (date to be confirmed);
- Canada Post Community Foundation on Sept. 24; and
- Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep on Oct. 10.