Date of Issue
November 3, 1983
Series Time Span
Perforation or Dimension
Designed by Claude A. Simard.
According to certain historical accounts, the Christmas tradition in Canada dates back to the arrival of Jacques Cartier. With the colonization of the New World came European traditions and customs. Christians arrived and built their churches. Soon afterwards, the Indians who had converted to Christianity in New France began marking the feast of Christmas by the celebration of midnight masses and by the creation of Nativity scenes that were displayed on the altars. The style of the first churches in Canada is of French origin and may even date back to the Romanesque style characterized by purity of lines and mainly by undecorated interiors, except for beautiful altar woodcarving. Responsibility for construction of these churches was not always that of only one architect. Population size and density as well as the region's resources were determined beforehand, and then the bishop would select the site and orientation of the church. The mason determined the height of the walls; the carpenter saw to the apse, spire, and roof, and the joiner created the interior decor. Most settlers' churches in colonial Canada were similarly the simple work of parishioners. English-speaking settlers' churches, for example, were low, plain, and functional structures. This style was adopted in rural areas of the new Western provinces. On the other hand, the European influence was largely felt and the neo-gothic style was prevalent in cities all over Canada. Church architecture of the European style was not suited to the harshness of the local climate, however, and it was not until the nineteenth century that specialized architects, using advanced techniques and new materials, created a new style aesthetically as well as functionally adapted to our climate. Christmas, or the celebration of the birth of Christ by ceremonial services, is also by tradition a popular feast celebrated by many Canadian families who attend midnight services before the other festivities begin. The 1983 Christmas stamps are the work of Claude Simard of Quebec City. The gouache paintings on the stamp depict a city church (32¢), a family on its way to church (37¢), and a country chapel (64¢).
Canada Post Corporation. [Postage Stamp Press Release], 1983.
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