December 20, 2006 11:40 ET

Canada Post Welcomes the Year of the Pig with Fortunate Stamps

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Dec. 20, 2006) - From February 18, 2007 to February 6, 2008, it will be the pig's turn to rule the Chinese zodiac. To mark the arrival of the Year of the Pig, Canada Post will issue, on January 5, 2007, a stamp and a special souvenir sheet. The single stamp will reflect the new domestic rate of 52 cents, while the stamp on the souvenir sheet will carry the new international rate of $1.55. The new postage rates take effect on January 15, 2007.

Aside from being a food source, pigs were also used for barter and were seen as a symbol of stable living. The Chinese character for family is composed of a pig under a roof, and the pig figure plays a role in both the protection of children and in burial rituals.

The pig is the most generous and honourable sign of the zodiac, and it heralds a year of contentment, security and optimism. People born in the Year of the Pig (1911, 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007) are said to be kind and caring in nature, with a jovial and easygoing character that belies their resilience and tenacity. At the same time social and self-reliant, they are honest, dependable, extremely determined and perfect friends. But pigs love luxury and can be susceptible to excesses of pleasure. Famous Canadians born in the Year of the Pig include rock star Bryan Adams, painter Stanley Cosgrove, and former Prime Minister Kim Campbell and great Canadian athletes born under this zodiac are Jennifer Heil, hockey player Jason Spezza and Formula One winner Jacques Villeneuve.

The Year of the Pig stamps are the work of Signals Design creative duo Kosta Tsetsekas and John Belisle. Earlier this year, the Vancouver studio produced the four stamps in the Canadians in Hollywood series.

The domestic rate stamp features the pig in traditional pink against a bright and festive orange background and the international rate stamp features the pig in a festive red against a deep emerald green background. What makes these stamps stand out is the creative use of printing techniques and styles, including lithography in eight and nine colours, plus two foils and embossing, which produces a cloisonne effect.

The domestic rate stamp, which measures 49 mm x 25.5 mm (horizontal), will be available in panes of 25 stamps for $13; the souvenir sheet, at $1.55, measures 98 mm x 97 mm (horizontal), and the uncut press sheet of 12 souvenir sheets, will go for $26.95. Lowe Martin printed 8 million single stamps, 700,000 souvenir sheets and 15,000 uncut press sheets, with P.V.A. gum, on Tullis Russell Coatings paper. They are general tagged on all four sides with 13+ perforations. The Official First Day Cover will read TORONTO ON.

Additional information about Canadian stamps can be found in the Newsroom section of Canada Post's website, and downloadable high-resolution photos of the Year of the Pig stamps are 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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