Thursday, 11 December 2008

Canada - Christmas: Winter Fun 2008

Cover sent from Canada to Portugal on 17-11-2008 with three stamps and one stamp sheet of three stamps.

Christmas: Winter Fun 2008. Skiing, tobogganing and playing in the snow are favourite pastimes for Canadians of all ages. These stamps celebrate these popular winter activities and playfully capture the spirit of the holiday season.
Stamp from Beneficial Insects Serie of 2007.Date of Issue: 12 October 2007. Northern Bumblebee.

Stamp from Beneficial Insects Serie of 2007.Date of Issue: 12 October 2007. Canada Darner.

Aristotle once said, "In all things of nature, there is something of the marvelous." Perhaps nowhere is this more true than when it comes to our tiniest of creatures: the insect. Don't let the insect's small stature fool you- these marvels of nature are incredibly useful. In fact, scientific research asserts that humans - and probably most life on earth - would perish without insects. This little-known fact is what prompted Angelique Dawson, the Stamp Services archivist at Canada Post, to suggest Canada's beneficial insects as a worthy stamp theme. "I looked to my own backyard - literally - for the inspiration behind this stamp issue. My garden is abundant in butterflies, ladybugs, bumblebees and lacewings because I strongly believe in a well-balanced ecosystem; one that uses beneficial insects instead of pesticides and insecticides," says Dawson. After a great deal of research, the list of potential beneficial insects to feature was whittled down to a select five: the golden-eyed lacewing, cecropia moth, northern bumblebee, Canada darner, and convergent lady beetle, better known as the ladybug. The valuable services provided by insects include wildlife nutrition, pest control, pollination, and dung burial. As warm weather approaches, Canadians are accustomed to seeing bumblebees busily helping to pollinate their gardens. But less familiar is the northern bumblebee (Bombus polaris), as portrayed on the 5¢ stamp with a bountiful head of clover. This docile bumblebee that thrives in the Arctic survives in below-freezing temperatures by shivering its flight muscles to generate heat. A number of Arctic flowers are almost entirely reliant on this large species for pollination. Each of these five beneficial insects is presented on its own pane of 50 stamps, as well as together on a souvenir sheet of five stamps and an uncut press sheet. In addition, a dynamic souvenir sheet OFDC buzzes with countless insects in motion. "Each stamp is centred on the way it is lit, creating a sense of strong light on each insect as well as enabling each to stand out from the background," says designer and illustrator Keith Martin. Moreover, by darkening and fading the edges, Martin created a unified border so that when the stamps touch, they bleed together as one. But neither Martin nor Danielle Trottier, Manager of Stamp Design and Production at Canada Post, could resist a touch of playfulness in the overall design. "The more I thought about bugs in general and these five in particular," says Martin, "the more I delighted in the seeming lack of a 'right side up'." To capture this particular insect feature, Martin positioned each bug in a different orientation on the stamp. Trottier adds that even the stamps themselves now have no "right side up" because the type runs on both sides. "I also adore that the bugs refuse to 'fall in line,' and happy stragglers can be seen walking off the edges of the souvenir sheet," says Trottier. "But when it comes to fun, it really comes down to the design of the OFDC - it's like a party ... a veritable bugfest!" Bugs just wanna have fun! Bugs are universally appealing to kids, who love to collect the real-life version. With these cheerfully coloured stamps being so affordable, the possibilities for fun are endless. -These stamps pose a perfect opportunity to introduce that special youngster in your life to stamp collecting. -If you know any teachers, tell them about the fun of using stamps in the classroom; lesson plans and activities are available at -Beneficial insects are an ideal topic to launch a science lesson and the stamps can be used as prizes for lessons learned. -Young scholars will enjoy practising mathematical basics by creatively combining stamps of different monetary values.
Canada Post Corporation. Canada's Stamp Details, Vol. 16, No. 4, p. 8-10.

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