Canada Post unveils Year of Ram stamp
To honor the Chinese Lunar New Year, Canada Post issued a pair of stamps commemorating the Year of the Ram. It’s the seventh release in a planned 12-year series celebrating the Chinese zodiac.
Canada’s primary postal operator held parallel launch events for the new stamps at the post’s Atrium on the Bay office in Toronto and at its Pacific Processing Center in Richmond, British Columbia on Jan 8.
Mao Runlong, deputy consul general for China in Vancouver, was invited to unveil the stamps with Greg Kabatoff, the retail director of Canada Post, in Vancouver.
“The Lunar year tradition is the time to honor ancestors,” Kabatoff said. “It’s also the spring festival. It’s time of renewal and celebration around the world and across Canada. The Chinese community is integral and outstanding part of Canada’s culture. It enriches the lives of all Canadians with a wealth of tradition and beliefs that reach back in time and extend to the present days.”
Mao was presented with a framed memento featuring the new stamps.
“I’d like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to Canada Post for their long time dedication and hard work to promote the beauty of traditional Chinese culture, and also enrich the colorful lives of the Canadian people, and the multiculturalism of Canada,” Mao said.
In Toronto, Chinese stamp collector Clorie Lam and her friends were waiting for the official issues of the first day stamps. “We have purchased the Chinese Zodiac stamps for many years as the stamps are part of our ethnic culture,” Lam told China Daily.
Chinese Acting Consul General in Toronto Zhang Chuanbin attended the unveiling ceremony. “I am very lucky because I was born in the year of Ram,” said Zhang, “Ram stands for happiness, kindness and auspiciousness.”
The Canada Post started issuing the Chinese Zodiac stamps in 1997.
“The Lunar New Year is the most important festival in the entire Chinese calendar, it’s also an important date on Canada Post’s philatelic calendar,” said Jim Phillips, director of stamp services at Canada Post. “With the issue of this stamp series, Canada Post celebrates our multicultural country and honors the Chinese Community.”
The Year of the Ram begins on Feb 19, 2015, and ends Feb 7, 2016. In Chinese culture, the ram is a sacred symbol of good fortune, kindness and justice. People born in the Year of the Ram (1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991 and 2003) are said to be able to turn challenges into opportunities through their sensitivity and intuitiveness. They are artistic and fashion savvy individuals that lust for beauty.
The series includes a domestic stamp and an international one. The domestic stamp depicts three rams welcoming spring, a popular New Year’s image, while the international stamp features a majestic green ram charging towards the New Year.
Artist Hélène L’Heureux spent more than a year designing the images. “I went to the library and Chinatown to collect books and material. I saw the image of three rams in the book San Yang Kai Tai, decided it was my angle, and I started the design process,” she said. “Each year I design a stamp for the Chinese New Year, there’s always some surprise.”
The stamps were illustrated by Montreal based wood-cut printer Susan Scott with calligraphy by Hong Kong-born Ngan Siu- Mui. All of the stamps variously incorporate foil and embossing. The texts are in traditional Chinese, English and French.
“Our Lunar New Year issue is a perennial favorite with collectors and consumers alike,” said Philips. “We’re very proud that the many designers who have worked on this issue have managed to balance a series feel while keeping the design fresh and new every year.”
Photo left: Greg Kabatoff, retail director of Canada Post, presents the Year of the Ram stamps to Mao Runlong, acting consul general in Vancouver, on Jan 8 at a ceremony in Richmond. Photo right: Jim Phillips (right), director of stamp services at Canada Post, presents the ram stamps to Zhang Chuanbin, acting consul general in Toronto, at the unveiling ceremony of the 2015 Lunar Year of the Ram stamps on Jan 8 in Toronto.