On June 12, with a little help from Canada’s privately owned Weather Network, Canada Post unveiled five new stamps and a souvenir sheet showcasing one of that nation’s most popular topics in every season: the weather.
To be issued June 18, the stamps show Canadian weather phenomena in striking splendor. From brilliant flashes of lightning to the sudden beauty of a double rainbow, the stamps photographically depict the remarkable variety of Canadian weather in photographs from every corner of the second-largest nation on Earth.
Daryl Benson snapped hoarfrost (frozen dew or water vapor) covering a tree near Beaumont, Alberta.
Geoff Whiteway focused on hazy, early morning fog at Cape Spear Lighthouse National Historic Site in Newfoundland, where fog is a way of life for many islanders. With 124 foggy days each year, St. John’s, Newfoundland, is the foggiest provincial capital in Canada.
In Saint-Gedeon, Quebec, Mike Grandmaison chased a rain shower to shoot a fabulous double rainbow, while Dave Reede captured dazzling flashes of lightning near Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Some 1,250 miles northeast of there, at Iqaluit, on Baffin Island, Frank Reardon captured seldom-seen “sun dogs” — bright spots on either side of the sun from a halo created by ice crystals in the air. He posted his photo on the Weather Network, where Canada Post found it.
Each “Weather Wonder” was carefully chosen with expert assistance from Environment Canada’s Senior Climatologist David Phillips, who combines keen professional insight with day-to-day fascination.
“I marvel at the beauty — and violence — of weather in Canada,” says Phillips, “which these stamps spectacularly depict.”
Kosta Tsetsekas and Defne Corbacioglu of the Vancouver-based Signals Design Group used these exceptional images to create a set of stamps tied together using themed icons as a nod to the long history of weather iconography — the small suns, clouds and raindrops seen in weather forecasts.
The 48-millimeter by 26mm stamps are available in booklets of 10, and were printed by Canadian Bank Note in six-color offset lithography with PVA gum. Canada Post printed 350,000 10-stamp booklets, or 700,000 of each stamp. The $8.50 booklet of 10 nondenominated permanent-rate stamps paying Canada’s domestic letter rate (currently 85¢) is Canada Post item 413985111.
In addition, 140,000 five-stamp souvenir sheets measuring 130mm by 95mm are being issued at $4.25 each, and are Canada Post item 403985145. The printing quantity was 5,000.
The stamps in the booklet are self-adhesive and die-cut, and those in the souvenir sheet are perforated and water-activated.
Uncut press sheets of six souvenir sheets measure 616mm by 483mm and will feature the image of the double rainbow. The uncut press sheet of six five-stamp Weather Wonders souvenir sheets is $25.50, and is Canada Post item 403985149.
The official first-day cover is franked with the souvenir sheet and measures 191mm by 113mm, and 11,000 will be printed. Sold for $5.50 each, they are Canada Post item 403985144. Both the cachet and the cancellation depict weather vanes.
The cancellation site is Toronto, chosen because it was the site of Canada’s first weather observatory, the Toronto Magnetic and Meteorological Observatory. The oldest scientific institution in Canada, it celebrates its 175th anniversary this year and is the occasion for the issuance of the stamps.
Twenty-five years ago, in 1990, a 39¢ Weather Observing commemorative (Scott 1287) was the first to honor the observatory’s founding in 1839-40.
Shown nearby, that stamp depicts a rainbow superimposed on a cloud bank in the background, with an array of meteorological symbols and numbers prominently shown in yellow in the foreground at top right.
Neither the observatory nor these stamps were the first to express interest in the parade of the seasons in Canada.
In 1968, a 5¢ commemorative (Scott 479) was issued to mark a far earlier and more remote meteorological milestone. It honored the 200th anniversary of Canada’s earliest long-term weather observations in one location: at Fort Prince of Wales, on Hudson Bay across the Churchill River from Churchill, Manitoba, the “Polar Bear Capital of the World.”
From Sept. 10, 1768, to Aug. 27, 1769, scientist-mathematicians William Wales and Joseph Dymond kept detailed daily observations of temperature and air pressure at the fort.
They were among the earliest scientists to recognize that frequent, consistent record-keeping at one site over a long period would provide the most accurate and meaningful picture of annual weather trends.
Collectors interested in climate should visit the exceptional Weather and Climate Philately website maintained by Don Hillger, a research meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo., and retired Canadian meteorologist Garry Toth.
Canada Post products are available at www.canadapost.ca/shop.
Stamps and FDCs will be available by mail order from the National Philatelic Centre, Canada Post Corp., 75 St. Ninian St., Antigonish, NS B2G 2R8, Canada; or by telephone from the United States and Canada at 800-565-4362, and from other countries at 902-863-6550.
Canada’s stamps and stamp products are also available from many new-issue stamp dealers, and from Canada Post’s agent in the United States: Interpost, Box 420, Hewlett, NY 11557.
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