Christmas and Skating
Date of Issue
November 1, 1996
Series Time Span
Perforation or Dimension
Ashton-Potter Canada Limited.
Designed by Stuart Bradley Ash. Designed by Katalin Kovats.
Ever wondered what happens to the change you drop into that little ghost or goblin's UNICEF box each Halloween? Does it really make a difference? You bet it does. In the fifty years since its inception UNICEF has grown from a tiny emergency operation to the leading international advocate of the survival, protection and development of children in the world. The global child mortality rate has been cut in half since 1946. And twenty million children have been saved since 1980 by immunization programs alone. Historically, Canada was instrumental in the founding of UNICEF, which was originally created in 1946 to provide emergency relief to orphans and other desperate children in war-ravaged Europe. Today, there are over 40,000 volunteers from UNICEF Canada working around the world to continue protecting the young. Back at home we are the third largest benefactor to UNICEF in the world, donating annually almost half of the U.S., a country ten times our size. On November 1 Canada Post Corporation will recognize this exceptional contribution with three Christmas stamps to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of The United Nations Children's Fund. Each stamp is based on an original Canadian work adopted by UNICEF for its Christmas cards. They focus on children delighting in outdoor play and lend a distinctly northern flavour to the overall theme. Because their works were not suited for such a tiny format, artists Joan Bacquie (Ontario), Ted Harrison (Yukon), and Pauline Paquin (Quebec) rearranged elements of their original artwork to accommodate that smallest of canvases and create three new pieces for philatelists to admire. These three artists were chosen specifically for the nature of their work. Each is known for their uncanny ability to tap directly into their own childhoods and recapture the innocence and vibrancy of that time. Joan Bacquie, a mother of three, has also spent countless years teaching children. She painted as a child herself, but put the brush down until her first grandchild was born. She decided to paint the baby's room, and rediscovered her extraordinary gift. Today, her naive style is in demand across Canada, and all over the world. Each stamp has a deceptively simple, playful design - a boy and a girl skating on a pond, a youthful Santa and his elf on skis, and a little boy and girl bearing gifts across the snow for a distant log home. Each reflects one of the images used by UNICEF in its immensely successful Christmas Card campaign - a campaign which has raised over 90 million dollars just in Canada. The UNICEF card tradition was started by one very grateful little girl back in 1947. Seven years old Jitka Samkova of Czechoslovakia painted a water-colour in thanks for the help of UNICEF volunteers in restoring her village, and saving her life. It was a beautiful image of children returned to joy for another dance around the maypole. Two years later UNICEF reproduced the image on its first Christmas card. Today, UNICEF works to ensure the well-being of children in more than 140 developing countries by providing community based services in primary health care, nutrition, basic education, and safe water and sanitation. The sale of approximately 160 million greeting cards each year is an important source of funding for these projects. Keep the presents coming Canada!
Canada Post Corporation. Canada's Stamp Details, Vol. 5, No. 6, 1996, p. 5-7.
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