October 30, 2005 16:53 ET

Minister Jean Lapierre unveils three new Christmas stamps

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 30, 2005) - A special event was held today at St. Joseph's Oratory during which Jean Lapierre, federal Minister of Transport, officially unveiled three of the stamps that will be issued next Wednesday by Canada Post to celebrate the Christmas season. The three stamps that were unveiled represent creches from the Oratory's permanent collection. One of the creche designs will be sold at the domestic rate (50 cents), while stamps for mail destined to the U.S. (85 cents) and international destinations ($1.45) will feature additional Nativity scenes.

"While envelopes bearing these stamps circulate through the postal system, here or elsewhere in the world or even in collectors' albums, people will learn a little more about the religious and artistic aspects of Canadian society," said Mr. Lapierre. "I am very proud to say that the quality of Canadian stamps is recognized worldwide. Their prestige, their educational value and the quality of their design is what makes them unique."

The rector of the Oratory, Jean-Pierre Aumont, CSP, explained that these new stamps are the 15th, 16th and 17th Canadian stamps representing St. Joseph, Canada's patron since 1624. "Thanks to these stamps, Canada Post allows us to invite the population of Quebec and of Canada to be more aware of St. Joseph, guardian of the Holy Family, he added.

The word creche is derived from an old French word for a manger or crib. Creches typically depict a manger with the Christ child, Mary, Joseph, the three wise men, shepherds, animals, angels, and the guiding star. The tradition of church creches was brought to New France by the early settlers. The custom of setting up a creche under the Christmas tree became widespread during the 1930s. These stamps were designed by I. Charney Design Inc. and are based on the creches of Sylvia Daoust, Keena, and Michel Forest. These creches were chosen from the impressive permanent collection of more than 950 nativity scenes from some 100 countries at the Musee des creches, at Saint-Joseph's Oratory in Montreal.

To capture the essence of each creche on a postage stamp was the challenge faced by I. Charney Design Inc. After more than a year of work translating the detail, enormity and physical presence of the creches, the stamps are a beautiful tribute to this unique art form. The stamps pay homage to the Canadian artists who created the creches and the design team, including Montreal photographer Paul McCarthy, who captured their essence on these tiny canvases.

A fourth stamp will complete this year's Christmas collection and will depict a favourite winter friend, the snowman.

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

Contact Information

  • François Legault, Ottawa, Ontario
    (613) 734-8847