Perched on picnic blankets beneath a darkening summer sky, the crowd's anticipation builds until finally the first sparkling flash of coloured lights explodes with an echoing boom. The fireworks have begun!
Just the very word "fireworks" brings to mind the sensation of celebration-a time shared with neighbours and family, when children are allowed to stay up past dark, and young and old alike eagerly await to be awed. These memorable occasions are the inspiration for the 2008 Celebration stamp.
Michael Zavacky, illustrator and designer for Ottawa's McMillan Digital Art, explains that "different cultures the world over have been using fireworks for centuries. They really are a universal symbol for celebration." Canada plays host to the world's premier international fireworks competition, The Fireworks Festival, each summer in Montréal.
This stamp is a continuation of the Celebration series, which featured brightly coloured balloons in 2006 and a spray of confetti and ribbons in 2007. "The Celebration stamp is always a challenge because we're working to convey an emotion, not a concrete object," says Liz Wong, Manager of Stamp Design and Production at Canada Post. "This year's fireworks theme really expresses the feeling of bliss."
Wong adds that this permanent™ stamp is extremely multi-purpose. "It's so festive; I can see this stamp being used for any type of celebration, from a formal wedding invitation, to a children's birthday party, to special occasions like Mother's Day and Father's Day. And because it's a PERMANENT stamp, anyone who really takes a shine to it can buy as many booklets as they want, knowing they can use the stamps in years to come."
Beyond its potential postal uses, collectors will appreciate the fine design details. Each of the coloured firework explosions has been finished with two hits of varnish to emulate the bright shine of light. "Also, the die cut at the top and bottom edges of this stamp is an exact replication of a 13-pin perforation," notes Wong.
As a final tie into the concept of celebration, and to underscore excitement, Zavacky added an exclamation mark to the word "Canada"-a first for Canada Post.