May 16, 2008 11:11 ET

Canada Post: The Founding of Quebec City-400 Years

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 16, 2008) - Canada Post today issued a domestic rate stamp celebrating the 400th anniversary of the founding of Quebec City. The five-year series dedicated to the French settlement in North America began with a joint issue with France's La Poste, and will come to an end with another joint issue between Canada and France.

The stamp was unveiled this morning at a ceremony at the Garrison Club in Quebec City, with dignitaries representing Quebec City, the 400th Anniversary Committee, the Consulate General of France in Quebec City and the Federal Government. Serge Pitre, vice-president Sales at Canada Post said, "This year the historic City of Quebec is celebrating the 400th anniversary of its founding and Canada Post is proud to commemorate this milestone by issuing a stamp in conjunction with La France's La Poste, which highlights the importance of this anniversary for both countries that Champlain united four hundred years ago."

The first stamp issued in the series featured Pierre Dugua de Mons and celebrated the dawn of European settlement in Canada at St. Croix Island in 1604. To recognize the French settlement which took place in 1605, the second stamp featured Port-Royal. The third stamp, a joint issue between Canada Post and the United States Postal Service, celebrated French explorer Samuel de Champlain's 1606 voyage along the coast of New England to Cape Cod. Last year's stamp honoured Grand Chief Membertou of the Mi'kmaq district Kespukwitk, who forged enduring ties with French settlers at Port-Royal. And the final stamp to be issued in the series will celebrate the Founding of Quebec City in 1608.

It is anticipated that tourists from around the globe will visit the oldest city in Canada to participate in the festivities and the various events to take place throughout the year. "The stamp commemorating the founding of Quebec is a unique contribution and an important part of the historic celebrations of 2008", said Jean Leclerc, Chairman of the board of directors of the 400th Anniversary of Quebec Committee. "The stamp pays tribute to the builders of Quebec but also the earlier presence of First Nations. The 400th Anniversary committee thanks Canada Post and La Poste of France for their support of the 2008 festivities."

Today, Quebec is the 10th largest city in Canada and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985 as the "Historic District of Old Quebec". Tourists can explore the many historic buildings that have been preserved or restored in one of the continent's oldest settlements. Historian Samuel Eliot Morison wrote: "No other European colony in America is so much the lengthened shadow of one man as Canada is of the valiant, wise and virtuous Samuel de Champlain." Champlain died on December 25, 1635 and his legacy remains embedded in the rich fabric of Canadian history, 400 years from the time he built his Habitation atop Cap Diamant.

To wrap up this historic series, Rejean Myette and Francois Martin of Montreal's Fugazi inc. wanted to present a scene that not only pays homage to Quebec City's first buildings and Champlain's role in the founding, but also the pre-existing native presence in the area so we placed these three subjects in a dynamic scene, showing the interaction between them at the time. To make this stamp different from previous ones in the series, focus was put on Champlain, the original Habitation and an everyday life scene is captured. "In order for engraver Jorge Peral to interpret it with the virtuosity for which he is renowned, the illustration includes several details", explains Myette. For a more dazzling and dynamic stamp, both traditional engraving techniques and more modern printing methods were used.

The 52-cent stamps measure 39.7 mm x 40 mm (vertical) with 13+ perforations. Canadian Bank Note printed 2.5 million stamps which will be sold in panes of 16. The P.V.A. gum stamps will be printed using single colour lithography and three-colour intaglio on Tullis Russel paper. They are general tagged on all sides. The Official First Day Cover will bear the cancel QUEBEC CITY QC.

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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