Thursday, March 29, 2007

Lilac stamps - rare kudos for Canada Post

Complaining about Canada Post is almost as ubiquitous as grumbling about the weather up here in the Great White North.

Ask anyone, especially Canucks trying to compete with US sellers on Ebay, and you’ll hear no end of complaints about exorbitant rates and poor service. (That's what we get for turning a government service into a monopolistic corporation that is expected to make a profit. And don't get anybody started on the postal unions and their many crippling strikes over the years.)

But today, I have to say something nice about Canada Post: the new lilac stamps they have issued this spring are the prettiest stamps I've ever seen.

These stamps have spring-fresh colours and curved lines to them, and are sold in a little folder of 10 with round lilac seals to put on the back of your letters. In fact, the stamps are so sweet I'm tempted (almost) to get out the good note paper and actually write a snail mail letter or two.

According to Canada Post, the lilacs on the stamps are Syringa vulgaris "Princess Alexandra", an early lilac with single white florets that originated in 1874 in Windsor, Ontario, and is the oldest Canadian hybrid lilac still found at the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa.

The mauve-purple lilac is Syringa x prestoniae "Isabella" named for Isabella Preston (1881-1965), a prolific plant breeder at the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa. She hybridized the late-blooming lilac hybrids that are named after her.

The lilac stamps are the work of Montreal graphic designer Isabelle Toussaint, who is to be congratulated for using photography with soft out-of-focus backgrounds to give the humble domestic postage stamp a real lush feeling of spring. Lovely work!

Read more about this stamp issue or buy the stamps at the Canada Post site.

Related information: An article on growing lilacs at my website.


  1. Anonymous7:03 PM

    Beautiful stamps! Very pretty. I just wrote a post about veggie crop stamps that the U.S. post office has just issued... looks like both Canadian and American gardeners can add a bit of garden joy to their mail this spring.

  2. Wow... those really are beautiful and fresh-looking. And I love that they aren't truly square or rectangular.

  3. Gorgeous! And I was excited about our veggie stamps here in the US, but I'd much rather have these. Of course, I'm partial to lilacs anyway :-)

  4. Lilacs are one of my favourites too. Unfortunately my balcony is full and they don't grow well indoors. Swedish Post made some pretty stamps last year with allotment gardens as a theme - no seals added and they where as square as any stamp, but the motifs where nice and the colours where vibrant in a very pleasing way.


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