Stampin' The Future TM
Children's Stamp Design Contest
When young Canadians are asked to envision the future of their country, what do you think they see? Two years ago, Canada Post announced a stamp-design contest and invited school children between the ages of 8 and 12 to put crayon, pencil, marker and paint to paper to illustrate their hopes, dreams and visions for the 21st century. On July 1, Canada Day 2000, Canada Post will issue four domestic-rate stamps ($0.46) bearing the winning entries of young Canadians Andrew Wright, Christine Weera, Rosalie Anne Nardelli, and Sarah Lutgen.
A Contest that Spanned the Globe
Thirty-one countries, including Canada, were invited by the United States Postal Service to participate in a world-wide stamp-design contest with the grand-prize winners from each country assembling in Anaheim, California in July of 2000 for a special global celebration. Canada Post announced the contest in June of 1998, and an official launch took place that September at Ottawa's Museum of Science and Technology. More than 12,500 Canadian schools received mailouts; responding schools were sent information kits, entry forms and posters. The contest was also promoted through postal outlets, libraries, and shopping malls. By October 31, 1998, the contest closing date, more than 56,000 entries were received.
Each entry was opened, examined, checked against the rules (no computer-rendered images allowed; all illustrations were to be hand-drawn), and placed in one of two age categories - 8-9 or 10-12. The first round of judging yielded 120 selected entries; ten from each province and territory. The panel of judges comprised stamp designers, representatives from provincial educational departments, members of the Royal Philatelic Society, and retired Canada Post employees who were members of the Heritage Club at that time. The 120 entries were then examined by three members of the Stamp Advisory Committee, the citizen group which reviews and approves requests and suggestions for themes and designs of Canada's prospective stamps. The subcommittee's task was to select 15 entries from each age category, 30 in total. The full committee then met and re-examined the 30 entries and selected two winners from the 8-9 category and two winners from the 10-12 category.
A child's imagination knows no boundaries, as judges discovered while examining the mass of entries. Some prominent themes in the artwork were space travel, world peace, multiculturalism, and environmentalism. Perhaps what is most touching about the artwork of these young Canadians is that it imparts profound overtones of optimism and hope; the vibrantly-coloured illustrations are filled with happy faces and infused with the spirit of unity.
Choosing four winners from more than 56,000 contest entries is a task that's daunting, at best. Once the selection was narrowed down and the final artwork was selected, Lise Giguère, a Montréal designer and graduate of Université du Québec à Montréal, rose to the challenge of designing four domestic-rate ($0.46) stamps. The first task was to include "Canada" and "46" in the same position on each of the four drawings without obliterating any of the art. The next task involved selecting a background colour that would complement the profusion of colours while leaving the focus clearly on the drawings. Ms. Giguère's previous stamp credits include the 1993 Stanley Cup (with François Dallaire), the First Day Cover for the Barreau du Québec (1999), and writing paper and packaging design for the Birds of Canada stamp series.