July 04, 2005 10:47 ET

In The Swim Of Things-Canada Post Issues Stamps For FINA

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - July 4, 2005) - Canada's most important sporting event this year will be held in Montreal from July 17 - 31. MONTREAL 2005 will bring together more than 2,000 athletes from 160 countries in the disciplines of swimming, diving, synchronized swimming, water polo and open water swimming. Canada Post will take the plunge along with the world's best when it issues two new postage stamps celebrating the XI World Championships of the Federation internationale de natation (FINA) on July 5, 2005.

As aquatic sports gained popularity in the early 1900s, more athletes began to compete at the national and international level. Leading figures in the sport quickly noticed that there were no standardized rules, regulations, facilities or even a universally agreed upon program of events for the Olympics or other international meets. This problem was addressed in 1908, at the London, England Olympic Games, when representatives from Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Britain, Hungary and Sweden formed the Federation Internationale de Natation Amateur (International Amateur Swimming Federation), now known as the Federation Internationale de Natation. The organization quickly established uniform rules for swimming, diving and water polo and established a system for registering world records. Today, some 180 nations are members of FINA.

FINA introduced its world championships in 1973 and they will take place for the 11th time in Montreal, the first time they have taken place in North America. FINA awarded Montreal the championships during a meeting held at the 2001 championships at Fukuoka, Japan. In February 2005, FINA reconfirmed Montreal as the host city after it settled a number of financial problems. The governments of Canada, Quebec and Montreal will be supporting the event. The events will unfold on St. Helen's Island and Ile-Notre-Dame in the St. Lawrence River, former site of EXPO 67 and now part of Jean Drapeau Park. Montrealers will enjoy a legacy of several new pools, six of which have been built for the meet. More than 1,000 journalists will bring all the action to a television audience expected to reach 800 million people. Male and female competitors will test each other and themselves in five disciplines: swimming, water polo, diving, synchronized swimming and open water swimming.

The stamps feature two silhouetted figures, representing a swimmer doing the butterfly stroke and a diver spinning in mid-air. However, designer Rejean Myette notes that when the stamps are viewed from different angles, they may call to mind other strokes and sports. He added that the stamps, as they are placed in the pane of eight, give a strong sense of the graceful, fluid motions that occur in the water, conveying the strength and elegance of aquatic sports. Each stamp is exactly twice as long as it is wide (making the pane square) and with centrally-placed typography, both stamps can be oriented either vertically or horizontally. The deep black silhouettes were printed with two different inks to ensure opacity. They provide a sharp contrast to the bright background of dappled blue, pixelized to suggest light dancing on water. This approach was inspired by the dots, like water droplets, that appear in the logo of the Montreal event.

The domestic rate (50 cents) stamps will be available for sale at post offices across the country on July 5, 2005. Each stamp measures 46 mm x 24 mm. Lowe-Martin printed 3 million of the self-adhesive stamps, using 7-colour lithography plus spot varnish on Tullis Russell Coatings paper. The stamp is general tagged on all four sides. The Official First Day Cover will read: Montreal, QC.

For additional information about Montreal 2005, please visit

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 FINA 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.

Contact Information

  • Canada Post
    Cindy Daoust
    Ottawa, Ontario
    (613) 734-4258