June 12, 2006 09:40 ET

Whale Mail... Canada Post Recognizes 50th Anniversary of the Vancouver Aquarium

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - June 12, 2006) - On June 15, Canada Post will issue a single domestic rate (51 cents) stamp to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vancouver Aquarium. This centre is the nation's largest aquarium, and is home to more than 70,000 animals, from translucent jellyfish to Arctic beluga, tropical piranhas and Pacific salmon. In all, there are some 265 fish species, 237 invertebrate species, and 48 reptile and amphibian species, along with more than 20 marine mammal and bird species.

The luminescent stamp designed by Vancouver's Kevin van der Leek Design Inc. captures the wonder of a child, captivated by the giant beluga whale swimming by. The young girl seems to be measuring the whale, perhaps trying to figure out how to bring it home after her visit. The stamps image captures an idyllic, uncomplicated moment between the earth-bound girl and the majestic creature that calls the water home.

Situated in world-famous Stanley Park, in the heart of Canada's third-largest metropolis, the Vancouver Aquarium's galleries, aquariums, outdoor pools, and re-created natural habitats comprise more than 160 aquatic displays which are viewed each year by almost a million visitors (880,000 in 2005). Some 33 million people have toured the Aquarium since it opened 50 years ago.

A non-profit, charitable organization, the Aquarium receives no ongoing operational funding from government. Its annual operating budget today is approximately $16.5 million, raised through admissions, retail and food sales, programs, memberships, donations, and grants.

Nearly 350 employees and 900 volunteers are involved in the operation of North America's fifth-largest aquarium. Their tasks are many, from the care and feeding of the animals, maintenance of the many diverse habitats, training the dolphins, sea lions, and belugas, rehabilitation and release of rescued marine mammals, to education and research. In recent years the Aquarium has expanded its role in community conservation initiatives like the TD Canada Trust Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup and River Works wetland restoration programs.

The stamp will be available in booklets of 10 stamps. Lowe-Martin printed 5,000,000 of the self-adhesive luminescent stamps, each measuring 48 mm x 24 mm (horizontal). The printing process is lithography in seven colours, plus spot gloss varnish, on Tullis Russell Coatings. The stamps feature a simulated perforation and are general tagged on all four sides. The Official First Day Cover (OFDC) Cancellation reads: VANCOUVER B C.

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 Vancouver Aquarium 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.

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