Our multi-year journey through the wonders of Canada’s UNESCO World Heritage sites continues with this third issue composed of three U.S.- and two international-rate stamps. This long-running series is being produced along with a fourth issue comprising domestic definitives that will be released later this year. This is in response to many requests we’ve received over the years for stamps that depict the natural and cultural beauty of our country.
Home to most of the tallest peaks in North America and the largest ice field outside of the polar caps, Kluane National Park and Reserve in the Yukon and British Columbia’s Tatshenshini-Alsek Park are the Canadian components of a vast, unbroken ecological unit that covers 97,000 square kilometres. The only human interaction with the land is a historic Aboriginal presence. This World Heritage site also includes Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve and Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. It was the first transboundary site to be placed on the World Heritage List.
Dinosaur Provincial Park, in the badlands of southeastern Alberta, contains some of the most important fossil discoveries of more than 40 dinosaur species dating back to the Late Cretaceous Period, 75 million years ago. The retreat of the last ice age about 13,000 years ago created the Red Deer River Valley, along with the hoodoos, isolated mesas and low-lying coulees of the badlands. It also left the Earth’s greatest concentration of Late Cretaceous dinosaur fossils. Since digging began in the 1880s, more than 300 dinosaur skeletons have been pulled from a 27-kilometre stretch along the Red Deer River. These remains can be found in museums around the world.
Wood Buffalo National Park is the very embodiment of northern Canada. Its 44,807 square kilometres encompass boreal forest and plains and some of the largest undisturbed grass and sedge meadows left in North America. These meadows sustain the largest free-roaming herd of bison, the nesting habitat of the world’s last remaining wild migratory flock of whooping cranes, and some nesting sites of the peregrine falcon.
The idea to unite two national parks, Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta and Glacier National Park in Montana, was first proposed in 1931 by the Rotary clubs of Alberta and Montana. A year later, the two combined to become the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, the first park of its kind in the world to promote peace and friendship between nations. A diversity of wildlife exists within its boundaries, including an international herd of elk that migrates annually between a summer mountain habitat in Glacier and winter prairie ranges in Waterton. An Aboriginal presence dates back 12,000 years, and in both parks remain places that hold deep significance for First Nations peoples. In fact, Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park stands on the land of three nations: Canada, the United States and the Blackfoot Confederacy.
In 2013, the World Heritage Committee chose Red Bay Basque Whaling Station as the newest site on the UNESCO World Heritage List. In the 16th century, whalers from France and Spain came to the Strait of Belle Isle to hunt the then-plentiful right and bowhead whales. A thriving whale oil industry developed along the Labrador coast throughout the 1500s. Also a National Historic Site of Canada, Red Bay houses the remains of rendering ovens, cooperages, workshops, temporary dwellings, wharves and whale bones. Underwater rest the remains of vessels exemplifying 16th-century European shipbuilding techniques, including four whaling ships and smaller boats.