CANADA POST

CANADA POST

February 27, 2008 15:47 ET

Canada Post Welcomes Spring With a Bouquet of Peonies Stamps

OAKVILLE, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 27, 2008) - On March 3, 2008 Canada Post will issue two domestic rate Peonies stamps; one featuring the showy Elgin Peony and the other the single-cup Coral 'n Gold.

The peony is an ornamental flower known for its big, showy blossoms and rich fragrance, and grows only in the northern hermisphere. Its name is a derivative of the Greek word Paeon, a god of medicine and healing. This perennial has been praised for its medical value in the Far East and Ancient Europe for at least 2,000 years. Scientists today continue to debate its medical properties, which are said to cool and nourish the blood, relieve pain and soothe coughs.

There are between 30 and 42 species in the genus, including both herbaceous and tree peonies.

Herbaceous peonies tends to have many side blooms surrounding one larger primary flower, reaching half a meter to a meter in height and boast glossy dark green divided leaves. In Canada, this flower tends to open in early May through to mid-to-late July. These perennials are hardy in all areas of Canada, save the far north. In fact, most require a period of extended cold to set their flower buds, which is why the aren't found in warmer climates.

Tree peonies or the shrubby peony rarely reach beyond two meter heights. Unlike their herbaceous counterparts, their woody stems do not die back to the ground each year and since they hold their flower buds on their stems, they are not as hardy either. Tree peonies can be found in several colour combinations and forms (single, semi-double, or double) and are often found in shades of yellow, orangey reds and deep salmons.

The stamps, designed by Isabelle Toussaint of Isabelle Toussaint Design Graphique in Montreal, feature a photo of the peonies before a white background on the stamp, an arrangement that allows the rich colours to stand out. Toussaint photographed the peonies herself: the Elgin at the Ottawa Central Experimental Farm, and the Coral 'n Gold at the Algonquin College Campus of Horticulture. Toussaint has worked on other stamp issues, namely the daffodils, the lilacs and the pet stamps.

The domestic rate stamps, which measure 33.75 mm x 23.25 mm (horizontal) will be available in booklets of ten stamps. The pressure sentitive stamps are simulated perforations and printed on Tullis Russell paper. Lowe-Martin will print 12 million stamps. The Official First Day Cover will read OAKVILLE ON.

More information on these commemorative stamps can be found in the Newsroom section of the Canada Post Web site, and photos of the stamps are available in the Photo Centre of the Newsroom. The stamps and Official First Day Cover will be available at participating post offices, online through the links on the Canada Post Web site (www.canadapost.ca) or by mail from the National Philatelic Centre. From Canada or the United States, call toll-free 1 800 565-4362; from other countries call 902-863-6550.

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