May 02, 2008 10:29 ET

Canada Post Celebrates Canadian Industries: Oil and Gas

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 2, 2008) - Canada Post issued a set of two domestic rate stamps dedicated to Canadian industries today. One stamp will feature the Transcanada Pipeline while the other pays tribute to Canada's first commercial oil well.

It was fifty years ago that the mega-task of bringing Alberta's natural gas through this vast country came to be. At one point 5,000 workers were involved in the construction of the over 650,000 tons of pipe laid across 2,200 kilometers Canada has since earned a reputation as a world leader in oil and gas industries, and this symbol of national unity has been deemed "a means as vital for the building up of this east-west continental nation in the twentieth century as the Pacific Railway had been in the nineteenth."

Though the exploration and refinement of oil is now among Canada's most lucrative industries, the country's earliest settlers found the foul-smelling tar more of a bothersome irritant than a treasured resource. Thankfully, what was once seen as oily swampland eventually became recognized as fields of black gold. New York adventurer Charles Nelson Tripp and businessman James Miller Williams of Hamilton Ontario were at the forefront of this industry. Years later, on January 16, 1862, oil literally fell from the sky when Canadian businessman Hugh Nixon Shaw struck Canada's first "gusher." He hit a 62-metre-deep reservoir, the deepest well in Oil Springs, bringing the oil boom to a new level. Oil Springs became known as the City of Grease and also lays claim to have had the first paved road in Canada.

Designer Tim Nokes created both stamps in this set noting that "Both stamps celebrate a milestone on a timeline in history.To subtly portray this, I intentionally created a horizontal composition that moves the eye from left to right. In the gas stamp this is further enhanced by the pipeline itself. This horizontal graphic is then carried over to the oil stamp creating a graphic bar that separates the photo image from the rest of the design." A bold grey keyline was also used to make it feel almost 'steel-like'. Wanting to depict thousands of people that worked on the pipeline, Nokes decided to have one anonymous individual 'celebrate' this achievement through the blarring of confetti like sparks caused by the welder. By contrast the oil stamp needed to reflect the key individuals involved with that discovery: Tripp and Williams. To reflect their juxtaposition of lives, both face in opposite directions to create a conceptual relationship but Williams, like in history, is more dominant with his vision. The clothing of the two also echoes their individual financial and social status: Williams in formal attire and Tripp more as a rogue or adventurer.

The 52-cent stamps measure 47.25 mm x 26.25 mm (horizontal) with simulated perforations. Lowe-Martin printed 2.25 million stamps which will be sold in booklets of ten. The self-adhesive stamps will be printed using lithography in six colours on Tullis Russel paper. They are general tagged on all sides. The Official First Day Cover will bear both stamps and two different cancels. One for the gas stamp, CALGARY AB and one for the oil stamp OIL SPRINGS ON.

Additional information about Canadian stamps can be found in the Newsroom section of Canada Post's website, and photos of these new stamps are in the Newsroom's Photo Centre. Stamps and Official First Day Covers will be available at participating post offices, or can be ordered online by following the links at Canada Post's website, or by mail order from the National Philatelic Centre. From Canada and the USA, call toll-free: 1 800 565-4362, and from other countries, call: 902 863-6550.

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