The hidden date for this stamp can be found in the bottom-right corner.
To coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Tulip Festival, Canada Post has issued four domestic rate commemorative stamps featuring the tulips 'City of Vancouver', 'Monte Carlo', 'Ottawa' and 'The Bishop'. These self-adhesive stamps are available in a booklet of eight.
Along with onions, leeks, garlic, asparagus and a variety of ornamental plants, tulips are members of the lily family. Cultivated as early as 1,000 AD in what is now Turkey, tulips were introduced to Europe in the 16th century, cultivated in the Netherlands beginning in the 1600s, and brought to North America by the Dutch.
Tulips in Canada
During the Second World War, the Dutch royal family sought shelter in Canada, and strong bonds were forged between the two countries. Princess Margriet was born during this time, in Ottawa's Civic Hospital. In helping to liberate the Netherlands, some 5,712 Canadian servicemen lost their lives and remain buried in Dutch soil. In the fall of 1945, the people of the Netherlands sent a gift of 100,000 tulip bulbs to Ottawa, which were planted in front of Parliament Hill and along the Queen Elizabeth Driveway. Then in 1946, Princess Juliana sent 20,000 bulbs to show her gratitude for the hospitality she received here. Each year, Ottawa receives 10,000 bulbs from the Queen's household, bringing the number of annual blooms to over one million in the National Capital Commission tulip beds.
The Canadian Tulip Festival 50th Anniversary
In 1953, the first Canadian Tulip Festival was held in Ottawa. Today, the Festival is the largest in the world, earning Ottawa the title of 'tulip capital of North America.' The 50th Anniversary Festival will take place between May 3rd and 20th, 2002.
'City of Vancouver'
The 'City of Vancouver' is a primrose yellow tulip from the Single Late Group, a late-flowering, mainly long-stemmed, single-flowered cultivar. This tulip grows to approximately 70 cm. On the stamp, the 'City of Vancouver' is shown against a background of the Vancouver skyline.
Sulphur-yellow in colour, and slightly feathered with red, the 'Monte Carlo' reaches a height of 30 cm. The 'Monte Carlo' is a member of the Double Early Group, an early-flowering, short-stemmed and double-flowered cultivar. In the background of the 'Monte Carlo' stamp are tulip beds located at Ottawa's Dow's Lake.
'Ottawa' is a cardinal red tulip with canary yellow margins belonging to the Triumph Group, a single-flowered cultivar with medium-length stems and mid-season blooming. This tulip attains a height of 50 cm. The Canadian War Memorial lies in the background of the 'Ottawa' stamp.
A Darwin Hybrid, 'The Bishop' is violet purple in colour and characterized by large flowers on long stems. This tulip is classified as a Single Late and was among the varieties of tulips forming the original gift from the Dutch royal family. The background of 'The Bishop' stamp is Ottawa's Civic Hospital, birthplace of Princess Margriet.
The Floral Arrangement
Using illustrations by Ghyslain Lefebvre and photographs taken (or provided) by Peter Timmermans, The Ottawa Hospital and Malak, Monique Dufour and Sophie Lafortune of Quebec City designed the Tulips stamp set.