Date of Issue
May 20, 1994
XV Commonwealth Games
Series Time Span
Perforation or Dimension
Leigh-Mardon Pty Limited.
Designed by David Coates. Designed by Roderick C.J. Roodenburg.
Traditional ceremonies by Native Peoples will welcome the world to Matolya (VICTORIA BC) as host of the XV Commonwealth Games being held August 18-28, 1994. The Coast Salish people, along with the neighbouring nations of Nuu Chah Nulth and the Kwagiulth form the Native Participation of the Commonwealth Games. In partnership with BC Hydro, an official sponsor, the design and production of the "Queen's Baton" was commissioned. Carrying a message from the Queen, it is a Commonwealth Games symbol akin to the Olympic torch. Three aboriginal artists, Charles Elliott of the Coast Salish Nation (Tsartlip), Art Thompson of the Nuu Chah Nation (Ditidaht), and Richard Hunt of the Kwagiulth Nation (Fort Rupert), combined talents to produce this unique sterling silver baton. It incorporates a wolf and frog from the Salish, a wolf from the Nuu Chah Nulth and a raven and eagle with a frog in its mouth from the Kwagiulth culture. The message relay begins at the Buckingham Palace and will travel across Canada before reaching Victoria. At the Opening Ceremony, the message from the Queen contained within it will be read aloud. Canada Post, another official sponsor, has incorporated the Queen's Baton into the design of the six stamps being issued to commemorate the XV Commonwealth Games. At the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam, reporter M.M. (Bobbie) Robinson of the "Hamilton Spectator", proposed that British Empire Games be organized for Hamilton in 1930. "They should be merrier and less stern, and will substitute the stimulus of novel adventure for the pressure of international rivalry" of the Olympic Games. Dubbed the "Friendly Games", they contributed some of the most memorable athletic events of the century. Roger Bannister of England defeated John Landy of Australia in 1954 at Vancouver when they ran their "Miracle Mile". Ten world records fell to the wayside at Cardiff in 1958. Canada has always done well at these Games. On home turf in Edmonton in 1978, Canada made its best showing to date : 45 golds, 31 silver and 33 bronze for a total of 109 medals. In Scotland in 1986 and New Zeland in 1990, Canadians won a total of 115 and 113 medals respectively, but placed third on golds both times. Both the name of the Games and the events have changed over the years. The 1930 "British Empire Games" became the "British Empire and Commonwealth Games" in 1950. They became the "British Commonwealth Games" in 1966 as more participating nations became independent. Finally in 1974, the present name of "Commonwealth Games" was adopted. From the six sports staged at Hamilton, the Victoria Games will feature ten sports: aquatics, athletics, badminton, lawn bowls, boxing, cycling, gymnastics, shooting, weightlifting and wrestling. Lacrosse is the "demonstration sport". At these Games, women do not compete in boxing, wrestling and weightlifting. Athletes with a disability will compete in six events in three sports: lawn bowls, athletics and aquatics. Lacrosse is the oldest organized sport in North America and frequently referred to as "Canada's national game". It was played by the First Nations long before the Europeans arrived. It is speculated that it served as a preparation for war, to resolve inter-tribal conflicts and for religious purposes. French missionary Jean de Brébeuf called it "la crosse" since the sticks reminded him of a bishop's crozier or crosse. During the 1800s, non-Native clubs were formed and Montreal dentist Dr. William Beers published a set of rules in 1860 which were adopted at the creation of Canada's first national sport governing body in 1867. Today the Canadian Lacrosse Association recognizes four disciplines: box (a combination of hockey and lacrosse), men's field, women' field and inter-lacrosse, a non-contact version. The stamp features men's field lacrosse. Vigorous athletic endeavours are juxtaposed against the framing features of flowers and the Queen's baton. The lacrosse stamp depicts a rose while a narcissus is seen on the lawn bowls stamp.
Canada Post Corporation. Canada's Stamps Details, Vol. 3, No. 3, 1994, p. 6-8.
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