5630 Dunbar St. at 41st Ave.
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Newsletter #189, Date January 8, 2010

Canada Post Unveils Year of the Tiger Stamps

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Canada Post unveiled the new Year of the Tiger stamps today at the Choi Hall in the S.U.C.C.E.S.S. building on Pender St. Representatives of the federal, provincial and city governments were joined by representatives from S.U.C.C.E.S.S., Canada Post and the Chinese Cultural Centre. Also on stage was Wilson Lam, who designed the stamps.

Events began with a choir singing 2 songs, one in Chinese and one in English.

The choir was followed by a traditional Lion Dance, which climaxed with the lion "devouring" the head of lettuce on the stage and with a shake of the head, threw the leaves into the audience for good luck.
Following the Lion Dance, there were speeches from the dignitaries and the unveiling of the international rate souvenir sheet by Doug Matsumoto of Canada Post. Snacks and coffee were provided for the crowd of over 100.
The domestic stamp shows the imprint of a seal, used as a signature on documents, showing a traditional stylized Tiger. Gold foil was applied to the imprint of the seal because 2010 is dominated by the metal element and gold is the highest valued metal. Clear foil and multi-level embossing combine to capture the light and give prominence to the seal. The border of the stamp sheet shows an abstract, forest-like pattern, against which all 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac have been represented.

The domestic stamp measures 32 mm square and has 13+ perforations. the stamps come in a sheet of 25 stamps and 6.5 million were printed.

The international rate stamp, which is only available on the souvenir sheet, has the same seal imprint at the top and the image of a tiger in nature, illustrating the status of the tiger in Chinese lore. "In China, the tiger is at once a figure of power and obedience. Tigers are respectful of their culture, community and the authority of their traditions. They represent values that have helped guide generations of people into prosperity, while promoting a cohesive culture" said Wilson Lam, principal of Wilco Design in Toronto, who designed the stamps.

The stamp itself depicts an image of a ceramic tiger, heavily embossed. Gold foil is sprinkled across the surface of both stamps, the first time that random foil has been used on a stamp.

The long scroll-like shape of the souvenir sheet, which will be used in all the souvenir sheets of this, the second series of zodiac stamps, is rooted in Chinese tradition as it is thought that scrolls were first used in China.

The sheet is 40 mm by 140 mm and has 13+ perforations, 750,000 sheets were printed.

Jim Phillips, Canada Post's director of stamp services said "These striking stamps are the second issue in our Lunar New Year series, which started in 2009 and are a cross-cultural celebration of the tiger figure in Chinese tradition. They tell the story of this fierce feline through traditional icons and imagery."

Wilson Lam, designer of the stamp, was born and raised in Macau and came to Canada in 1983. His design was also used in the Canadian horse and Newfoundland stamps issued last May. Besides the Canadian Year of the Tiger stamps, Mr Lam also designed the Tiger stamps for Macau this year.

Souvenir sheets can be purchased here.

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