Canada Post gallops into the new year

By Xinhua in Toronto Updated: 2014-01-16 13:49:30

Canada Post gallops into the new year

A Chinese student shows off the collection of Year of the Horse stamps she bought on Jan 13 at a post office in Toronto, Canada. Zou Zheng / Xinhua

Canada Post has unveiled a collection of Year of the Horse stamps to usher in the Chinese Lunar New Year, which begins on Jan 31.

The stamps, the seventh issue in a 12-year series, are part of a popular commemorative stamp program Canada Post has been running for the past 18 years.

This year's collection, featuring designs by Louis Gagnon and Daniel Robitaille from the Montreal-based firm Paprika, depicts outlines of horses. This is the second time Year of the Horse stamps have been issued, but Canada Post spokesperson Eugene Knapik says this year's design was not like its 2002 predecessor.

Canada Post gallops into the new year

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"They (the designers) were influenced by shadow puppetry as well as traditional print-making techniques, so they've gone with flattened images and used foiling to emphasize the flattening of the images," he explains.

The two designers both had their own special traits, says Knapik. He points out that the international stamp adds a twist to a technique used in previous issues, using embossing on the entire image of the horse to add dimension, as opposed to just using the technique in small areas. The domestic stamp depicts a horse in motion with a simple and elegant design.

"With the domestic stamps, they've really gone for motion," he says. "So when you look at the full sheet of 25 domestic stamps, you will see they are in motion like waves, because the tail of one touches the mane of another."

Color is also a key element in the 2014 designs, with the designers making use of the traditional Chinese colors of red and gold on the pair of stamps to evoke the liveliness of fire and to portray a powerful and graceful horse.

The stamps have become a long-standing tradition at Canada Post to usher in the new year and to celebrate the diverse cultures within the country.

"Our stamp program focuses on all facets of the Canadian experience, and there are 1.5 million people of Chinese heritage living in Canada, and it's the most important festival in the Chinese calendar," says Knapik, adding that the Lunar New Year series has become one of their most popular.

"I'm amazed at the popularity, the number of people who come out and purchase all the stamps," he adds.

The launch never fails to attract avid collectors who cannot get enough of the series. "I come every year because I have grandsons now, and I like to give the stamps to them," says King Wong, an avid collector. "The kids love them."


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