September 28, 2005 10:44 ET

Hon. John McCallum, Minister Responsible For Canada Post, Announces New Stamp To Mark 35 Years Of Canada-China Diplomatic Relations

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Sept. 28, 2005) - On October 13, Canada Post and the People's Republic of China State Post Bureau will jointly issue two domestic rate (50-cent) stamps to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Canada. Canada-China partnerships in trade, development, education and culture have grown enormously since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1970. Today, China is Canada's second- largest trading partner and there are more than 1 million Canadians who are of Chinese descent.

The stamps will be unveiled in Canada at a special ceremony at the Museum of Civilization on October 13. The Postal Museum is hosting an exhibit of Chinese stamps from September 25 until the end of October. The Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries will be hosting a philatelic exhibition in Beijing showcasing 15 years of Canadian stamps. The Chinese unveiling will also take place on October 13 in Yangzhou City in the Jiangsu Province.

"These stamps foster the long-standing partnership between Canada and China that encompasses economic pursuits, public health, environmental issues and culture," said the Honourable John McCallum, Minister Responsible for Canada Post. "As these stamps move across our respective countries, and around the world, this friendship will be shared and strengthened."

Canada's contribution to the Canada-China joint stamp issue is that of the cougar, while China's is that of the Amur leopard, a regal animal that can measure up to 13 feet from nose tip to end of tail. Both of these animals avoid human contact, preferring to move silently and blend into the scenery to the point of near invisibility.

The se-tenant set of two stamps consists of one stamp designed by Canada Post (cougar), the other by the People's Republic of China State Post Bureau (Amur leopard). The Canadian-designed stamp features the work of Keith Martin of Vancouver who did the 2000 whales stamp set. Martin's challenge was to create an image that would depict the cougar in its natural habitat and bring together the two stamps on the souvenir sheet. Both animals were created in contrasting styles steeped in the artistic traditions of each country, while the adornments and graphic elements that surround the stamps were kept quiet and gentle, bringing focus to the stamps themselves.

A previous joint stamp issue with China, in 1990, celebrated the life and work of Dr. Norman Bethune.

The stamps will be available for sale at post offices across the country on October 13, 2005. They each measure 40 mm x 30 mm, and will be sold in panes of 16 and a souvenir sheet of two se-tenant stamps. Lowe-Martin printed 5 million of the stamps and 400,000 of the souvenir sheets, using 7-colour lithography, and P.V.A. gum, on Tullis Russell Coatings paper. The stamps are general tagged on all four sides with 13+ perforations. The Official First Day Cover will read: Ottawa, ON.

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 Canada-China joint issue stamps 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.

The Cougar

The cougar, the largest of the three wildcat species in Canada (cougar, bobcat, lynx), once ranged across Canada from the west coast to the Maritimes. Today it is found primarily in British Columbia and Alberta. The cougar (Puma concolor) has a reddish-tawny or tawny-grey to dark chocolate brown fur, with black markings on the face and on the backs of the ears and tip of the tail. Normal prey include mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose calves - but cougars will also feed upon porcupine, beaver, coyote, snowshoe hare, ground squirrels and other mammals and birds. Every province and state now regulates cougar hunting and the biggest threat to them today is the encroachment of settlement. Cougar sightings and attacks upon people are on the increase.

The Amur Leopard

The Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) is named for the area in which it lives; that being the Amur River (Heilong Jiang), which flows along the border between China and Russia, west of Vladivostok and also in the adjacent part of North Korea. The Amur leopard is well adapted for deep snow. Its coat is longer than that of other leopards; it changes from a summer reddish-yellow to a pale cream in winter. Its spots, arranged in rosettes, are darker at the center, with thick borders and widely spaced across the back, flanks and upper limbs. The population is near to extinction in China and Russia. There are, however, approximately 223 in captivity.

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