July 11, 2005 12:25 ET

If At First You Don't Succeed, Try Somewhere Else... Canada Post To Issue Port-Royal 1605-2005 Stamp

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - July 11, 2005) - On July 16, Canada Post will issue a single commemorative stamp to mark the 400th anniversary of the establishment of the French settlement at Port-Royal, Nova Scotia. The domestic-rate stamp (50 cents), featuring French explorer Samuel de Champlain's drawing of the Habitation, is the second in a series of stamps celebrating French settlements established between 1604 and 1608, and related explorations, in what became Canada.

In 1604, Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons, (honoured last year in a joint stamp issue by Canada and France) and Samuel de Champlain, accompanied by fewer than a 100 men, established a settlement on Saint Croix Island, on the north side of the Bay of Fundy. De Mons had received a fur trade monopoly on condition he would take settlers to l'Acadie. The winter of 1604-1605 was very hard; almost half of the settlers died of cold or scurvy. In the summer of 1605, de Mons and Champlain moved the survivors across the Bay of Fundy to Port-Royal, a site they had visited in 1604.

The next winter was an improvement. The settlers knew what to expect and Champlain organized the "Order of Good Cheer" to entertain the nobles and to keep the table "joyous and well provided." The nobles, about 15 in number, took turns as chief steward, leading the procession of food while wearing the Order about their necks. The next to assume the stewardship would attempt to outdo the others. Mi'kmaq chiefs were part of the gatherings and they contributed fresh fish, lobster and game. As well, the creative arts had pride of place as when all took part in Le Theatre de Neptune, a play by Parisian lawyer Marc Lescarbot, who is credited as having written the first play in Canada.

The French colonists and the Mi'kmaq lived in harmony. The bake ovens at Port-Royal produced bread and the Mi'kmaq traded moccasins, snowshoes and other items for this staple. When the settlement was burned by raiders in 1613, the Mi'kmaq came to the aid of the French settlers, and allowed them to winter with them.

During Port-Royal's lifespan, wars between Britain and France in the 17th and 18th centuries saw it change hands four times. When Port-Royal became British, it was renamed Annapolis to honour Queen Anne. Eventually the old and new names merged to become Annapolis Royal.

Montreal design firm Fugazi created this and the 2004 stamp. The domestic-rate stamp, which measures 39.7 mm x 40 mm, will be available in panes of 16. Canadian Bank Note printed 3 million stamps, using 6-colour lithography plus 1 intaglio, and P.V.A. gum, on Tullis Russell Coatings paper. The stamp is general tagged on all four sides. The Official First Day Cover will bear an Annapolis Royal, NS cancel.

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 Port-Royal 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.

Contact Information