Each year for the past half-century the Canadian International Air Show (CIAS) has thrilled audiences with dazzling aeronautic displays. In tribute to this annual summer event, Canada Post is pleased to release a new special pane of four domestic-rate stamps. Featuring a colourful selection of aircraft, this issue will be featured on a pane of four and on an Official First Day Cover.
"The sky was the natural backdrop for these stamps," said Tiit Telmet of Toronto's Telmet Design Associates. "It gave co-designer Marko Barac and I a background that was common to all the stamps in the set and which would bleed into the selvedge, giving the sheet a more pleasing overall appearance."
Air shows at Toronto's Canadian National Exhibition began shortly after World War I, but it wasn't until the late 1940s, when interest in aircraft was at a peak, that air extravaganzas began as we know them today.
Originally called the National Air Show, the event was renamed the Canadian International Air Show in 1955. Billed as the largest annual event of its kind, the CIAS attracts as many as 750,000 enthusiastic fans each year. A broad range of aircraft, from vintage to state-of-the-art, make the CIAS one of the world's great venues for the display of civil and military aircraft technology.
Today, the Snowbirds are an important part of the Canadian International Air Show. Featured on the pane is the group from CFB Moose Jaw's 431 Air Demonstration Squadron, flying CT-114 Tutors. Joining this group are four aircraft illustrating the incredible range of air technology found at the CIAS. The Fokker Dr.1 triplane in the upper left a replica of the Red Baron's famous fighter came from the Great War Flying Museum in Brampton, Ontario. The upper right features an H101 Salto sailplane, while in the bottom right a daredevil from Florida's American Barnstormers walks the wing of a Stearman A-75. A Vampire MkIII, flown by the RCAF at the first CIAS in 1949, rounds out this pane of four stamps.
"Originally, the Canadian International Air Show and Canadian Air Force stamps were to be combined on a pane of 16, so this sheet went from eight to four stamps," says Tiit Telmet. "One of the big challenges was working the Snowbirds aerobatic team into the set. Since they're a team, we had to make sure we showed all nine aircraft, which dictated that they be small. However I think the pattern of their formation creates a sense of motion that gives the pane its strong visual appeal."