May 23, 2006 14:42 ET

A Map for the Future-Canada Post and the USPS Issue Stamps Honouring Samuel de Champlain

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - May 23, 2006) - On May 28, 2006, Canada Post and the United States Postal Service will release a joint stamp issue that celebrates the 400th anniversary of French explorer Samuel de Champlain's 1606 voyage along the coast of New England to Cape Cod.

This special issue, comprising stamps and a Souvenir Sheet, is Canada's latest philatelic celebration of the arrival of French explorers to North America. It will be unveiled at the Washington 2006 World Philatelic Exposition (May 27 - June 3). A special attribute of this joint issue is that both countries stamps will be featured on the Souvenir Sheet and Official First Day Cover.

According to Fugazi, the Montreal company that created the two previous issues in this five-year series, the creative approach to the stamp brings together the best of both old and new. Staying within the boundaries of the esthetic developed for the series, the design firm found ways to combine elements that represent both the history of the subject matter and contemporary design techniques. The more traditional image of the boat is set against a contemporary map of the New England coast, since a map created in the time of Champlain might be too confusing to a contemporary audience. The fonts chosen for the stamp are also modern and the play of bright and dull colours also reflects the marriage of old and new.

The image of the ship has been reconstituted through discussions about shipbuilding in the time of Champlain with historians, and from Champlain's own notes. It is believed that the galleon featured on the stamp is similar to the ones Champlain sailed.

A skilled cartographer, Samuel de Champlain (c.1570-1635) played a key role in the early exploration of North America. In 1604, he joined Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons aboard the Don de Dieu to sail to North America. Serving as a geographer, Champlain explored various regions of the Atlantic, including the coasts of what are now Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and New England as far south as Cape Cod.

In 1606, he accompanied lieutenant governor Jean de Biencourt de Poutrincourt on a mission to explore southward along the Atlantic coast. Beginning in Port Royal in what is now Nova Scotia, the expedition reached as far south as modern-day Cape Cod. Champlain's works document the cultures and geography of the east coast of North America during the early 17th century, and his maps are considered the first scientific documents relating to Canada.

Closely involved with French interests in North America for three decades, Champlain is also credited with the founding of Quebec City in 1608. Later, he traveled inland, exploring the lake that still bears his name and journeying as far west as Lake Ontario and Georgian Bay, part of Lake Huron.

The Canadian stamp, the work of illustrators Francis Back and Martin Cote, will be available in panes of 16 stamps. The souvenir sheet features two 51-cent Canadian stamps and two 39-cent U.S. stamps. The Canadian Bank Note Company printed 4,000,000 of the stamps (and 300,000 of the Souvenir Sheet) using lithography in 6 colours plus 1 intaglio process, P.V.A. gum, on Tullis Russell Coatings paper. Each stamp measures 39.7 mm x 40 mm (vertical), has 13+ perforations, and is general tagged on all four sides. The Official First Day Cover (OFDC) cancellation reads: Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia.

Additional information about Canadian stamps can be found in the Newsroom section of Canada Post's website, and a downloadable high-resolution photo of the Champlain commemorative stamp is in the Newsroom's Photo Centre. Stamps and Official First Day Covers will be available at participating post offices, 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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