Little Known of Interpreter Featured on Canada’s 2017 Black History Stamp

Mathieu Da Costa — a 17th-century interpreter who is thought to be the first person of African descent to arrive in Canada — is featured on this year’s Black History stamp from Canada Post.

The domestic rate self-adhesive stamps sold in booklets of 10 are being formally issued February 1 at the start of Black History Month. The official first-day cover is canceled in Tadoussac, Quebec, where historians believe Da Costa may have come ashore.

Da Costa continues to fascinate and confound scholars. Admittedly little is known about Da Costa and there is no known portrait. From the few records that remain, historians conclude he was a free man who earned a living as an interpreter for Europeans who were trading with indigenous people in the New World. Believed to be of African or even Euro-African descent, his connection to Canada came in the year 1608 — the year Samuel de Champlain founded the city of Québec — when Da Costa signed a contract to work for French fur trader, explorer and governor of Acadia, Pierre Dugua de Mons.

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Canada 150 Celebration Starts With Year of the Rooster Stamp

This year marks Canada’s 150th celebration and the nation started honoring the anniversary with its first stamp issue, the Year of the Rooster stamps issued on January 9. “Canada 150” appears in the tagging on the stamp issue. Collectors should pay attention closely to future Canadian stamp issues this year because the sesquicentennial will be incorporated somehow into future releases.

Here is Canada Post’s press release on the new stamp issue:

Canada Post welcomes Lunar New Year with stamp issue
Year of the Rooster stamps shine with gold accents

OTTAWA – Canada Post will greet the Year of the Rooster with a two-stamp issue, the ninth in its most recent series honoring the Lunar New Year. A Permanent™ domestic-rate stamp featuring a rooster image, with its chest proudly puffed out, is paired with an international-rate stamp offering a close-cropped profile view of the rooster’s stately face. Both images are created from lines of gold foil.

“Canada Post is proud to celebrate the vibrant and festive occasion that is the Lunar New Year, which is marked by Canadians of Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and other East Asian heritage,” says Canada Post President and CEO Deepak Chopra. “The annual unveiling of this stamp issue has become a much-anticipated event, with the artistry of the series praised by both collectors and mailers.”

Designed by Paprika, a firm in Montréal, the stamps include several features:
•    The pane of 25 domestic-rate stamps includes four Chinese blessings, presented in calligraphy by Albert Ng.
•    While all 2017 stamps include elements that point to Canada’s sesquicentennial, this issue’s reference is two-fold. “Canada 150” appears dropped out of the tagging that surrounds the stamps, an effect visible only under a black light. However, on the uncut press sheet and pane of 25 domestic stamps, a gold foil sesquicentennial logo is visible to the naked eye.
•    The international-rate official first day cover (OFDC), which also features a traditional Chinese blessing, is unsealed to enable the Chinese New Year tradition of giving money in a red envelope.

The Year of the Rooster arrives on January 28, 2017, and runs until February 15, 2018. Those born under this sign are honest, courageous and confident. Marked for success, they achieve their goals through a combination of wit, charm and hard work.

Both the domestic and international rate stamps are self-adhesive and measure 32 mm x 32 mm. The domestic stamp is available in booklets of 10 and panes of 25, and the international stamp in booklets of 10. The issue also includes a gummed souvenir sheet of both stamps, a gummed transitional souvenir sheet featuring both the 2016 Year of the Monkey and 2017 Year of the Rooster international stamps, an uncut press sheet and Official First Day Covers for both stamp denominations.

Canada Post Debuts Four Christmas Stamps

2016 Christmas souvenir sheet.
2016 Christmas souvenir sheet.

Canada Post issued four new Christmas stamps today, November 1. Three have a contemporary theme and a single stamp with a religious theme.

Here are details from Canada Post on the contemporary Christmas stamps:

On the domestic stamp, a smiling Santa stands in the snow facing a jovial tree. On the U.S.-rate stamp, a vibrant green tree is adorned with a red Santa hat. The international-rate stamp features a white dove, carrying an olive branch, a symbol of peace.

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Canada Issues New Hockey Stamps Sept. 23

Great Canadian Forwards souvenir sheet.
Great Canadian Forwards souvenir sheet.

Canada celebrates its hockey heroes with a booklet of six, a souvenir sheet, and international rate souvenir sheets, honoring great NHL goal scorers. The stamps were issued September 23. An unveiling took place at the Esso Great Hall at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Ontario.

The Great Canadian Forwards stamp lineup includes: Phil Esposito (Boston Bruins), Guy Lafleur (Montreal Canadiens), Darryl Sittler (Toronto Maple Leafs), Mark Messier (Edmonton Oilers), Steve Yzerman (Detroit Red Wings), and Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins). Five of the six individuals were in attendance at the unveiling event that was broadcast live on Canada Post’s Facebook page.

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