Canada Post brightens your holiday greetings with new stamps and the story of Edison light bulbs
The stringing of Christmas lights stands out among the many holiday traditions. The unique displays of light and colour that brighten residential neighbourhoods and business districts alike, are enjoyed by all throughout the festive season. The Honourable André Ouellet, President and Chief Executive Officer of Canada Post, is pleased to announce that three Christmas stamps featuring Christmas lights will be unveiled on November 1st, 2001. Each denomination will be offered in booklets and in panes of 25 stamps.
The origins of Christmas lights can be traced back to the observances of the winter solstice in many cultures, where earthly manifestations of light - in the form of fires, candles and lanterns - were central to these celebrations. The custom of lighting up a Christmas tree had its origin in Germany in the Middle Ages and became established in Eastern and Northern Europe and America in the 19thcentury.
The first time a Christmas tree was lit by electricity was in 1882, in the New York home of Edward H. Johnson. A colleague of Thomas Edison and vice-president of the Edison Electric Illuminating Company (later called General Electric), Johnson used a homemade string of 80 small electric light bulbs.
One of the first electrically lit Christmas trees in Canada was erected in Westmount, Quebec, in 1896. Today, the use of electric lights on Christmas trees is universal and lights are often used to decorate the exteriors of homes. Every year since 1985, provinces and territories are invited to simultaneously light their legislative buildings in a spectacular display that links Canada's capital cities.
The stamps were designed by a collaborative team at Circle Design Incorporated, an award-winning graphic design company from Winnipeg. Circle's previous stamp designs include the 125th anniversary of the RCMP and the Pan-Am Games in 1999. Photographic images of Christmas lights and winter scenes were sourced from photographers Malak Karsh (Ottawa), and Dave Reede and Mike Grandmaison of Winnipeg.
Each of the stamps portrays a nostalgic winter activity in a unique setting - a sleigh ride in an urban landscape, skating in the suburbs, and the simple pleasure of building a snowman in the country under the magical glow of northern lights.
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Mark Harris contributes and publishes news editorial to http://www.discount-light-bulbs.com.
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