As Canada's Head of State, Elizabeth II has appeared on many Canadian stamps during the more than fifty years of her reign. She is a symbol of our nation like no other, respected in her constitutional capacity but also widely admired for her personal qualities. Since her coronation in 1953, she has visited this country frequently, given her patronage to many Canadian organizations, and has retained a special relationship with the Canadian Forces. Her long reign has encompassed the terms of nine Canadian governors-general and nine prime ministers.
Canada Post's domestic rate (49¢) definitive stamp portraying the Queen is based on a photograph taken during her Golden Jubilee year by the Canadian rock musician Bryan Adams. Like other photographers granted the privilege for this occasion, Adams was given just five minutes to obtain a photograph that was both memorable and distinctive. In a quick session at the Garden Entrance to Buckingham Palace, he took this unusually informal, close-up image of the Queen, a portrait of a familiar, mature woman. "She's a mother and a grandmother," says Adams, "and I think my photo gives us a glimpse of the real person."
The stamp was designed by Saskia van Kampen, who remarks: "My biggest concern was not to allow her to appear ordinary." Van Kampen cropped Adams' photo to highlight the Queen's smile, and placed the image off-centre to give it an active, unexpected quality.