As the Winter Olympics come to a close, I have to give one last shout out to a country that has become near and dear to my heart over the last couple of years. Yes, I have friends from Canada and yes I have enjoyed myself whenever I have crossed our northern border to visit the country. And although I didn’t know it until about a week ago that I had so much Irish heritage, I know for sure that I’m not Canadian. It wasn’t until I received an assignment a couple years ago to create a set of rubber stamps for Michaels stores in Canada that I really started paying attention to this vast land.
Michaels Canada wanted Canadian stamps. What did that mean, exactly? I wasn’t sure at first. After some trusty research (or perhaps it was just hearsay), I started compiling a list of what Canada was beyond what I learned years ago from watching the movie Strange Brew. Maple leaves, of course. Hockey, of course. The phrase, “O Canada,” “The Great White North,” and “Eh” kept popping up. Then there is the plethora of wildlife that seems to be intertwined with the country’s identity – beavers and fish, moose and loons (I wasn’t really sure what those were at first) and a variety of bears. Throw in some tee-pees and totem poles, forests and snow, and you have a snapshot of Canada.
Since that first set of Canadian stamps, I have created two more sets for Michael’s Canada. Each time I design a new batch of Canadian icons I think to myself, “How many stamps does a person need with the Canadian flag on it?” Apparently, a lot…because they keep selling well which means the buyer keeps wanting more.
Now that I have watched the Olympics in Vancouver over the last two weeks, I have found myself with a higher degree of Canadian Pride than I imagined I had. It’s not my home country, yet somehow I feel like it’s a part of me. I see the human interest shots and stories of the Games and say, “Hey, they really do like bears there!” or “Wow, those really are what the mounties look like!” I find myself being unexpectedly and even entertainingly validated as I experience the Olympics with a couple hundred stamp designs under my belt.
I have a stash of Canadian wood-mounted stamps sitting here. Would you like them? Leave a comment about why you love Canada in general or something specific about Canada and I’ll pick a random winner on the evening Thursday, March 4 to receive them. You’ll find a wide number of versions of the maple leaf that you probably didn’t know were even possible along with plenty of wildlife and other Canadian icons. Hey, they are great designs….but since they are an extra set (I always keep a set for myself), they need a home where they will be truly loved and appreciated for what they are. A piece of the beloved Canada.
I may not have many uses for a stamp that says, “O Canada, our home and native land,” but every time I see these Canadian stamps I have to chuckle with the Canadian Pride that obviously keeps those sales going. Thank you, Canada! Thank you for loving your country and for giving me a chance to love it with you!
Canadian stamps rock, eh?