Let’s get a “stamp” of approval for our rose

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CAPTION: City of Welland rose (File photo by Joe Barkovich)

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

Welland should seek a “stamp” of approval for its official flower, the City of Welland rose.

That’s my opinion. And here’s how it could be pursued.

Canada Post on Wednesday, April 23 will issue two new rose stamps. One will honor the red hybrid tea, Konrad Henkel; the other will honor a pastel yellow hybrid tea, Maid Of Honour.

On the Canada Post website, I found this bit of info about these stamps: “Our popular flower series continues in 2014 with the rose. This two-stamp issue will be a hit for wedding invitations and enjoyed by collectors and consumers – especially gardeners.”

With that in mind, why not a City of Welland-rose stamp?

I was tipped off about this week’s issue by a friend who is a long-time stamp collector. He knows my interest in roses. Through his thoughtfulness and generosity, I now have a small, but growing resource of rose stamps and information about them.

Rose stamps are popular with collectors and consumers. Our rose would  certainly benefit from the publicity of having a stamp issued bearing its eye-appealing image and name. Perhaps more important, think of the publicity Welland could receive by having  City of Welland-rose postage on mail travelling far and wide. And you sure can’t beat the price of that publicity.

This week’s issue won’t be the first time Canada Post has dedicated postage to roses.

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CAPTION: Shown above are: Centennial (top left), Agnes (top right), Champlain (bottom left) and Canadian White Star (bottom right).  (Photo by Joe Barkovich)

A popular issue in August 2001 honored four well known Canadian-bred roses: Centennial, Agnes, Champlain and Canadian White Star. Here is an interesting side note about one: In 2003 the Canadian postage stamp featuring Canadian White Star rose was chosen at the Paris-based International Philatelic Competition as the Most Beautiful Stamp in the Americas and the Third Best stamp in the world.

In my book, that’s quite the honor!

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CAPTION: The Montreal Rose (Photo by Joe Barkovich)

Another rose stamp was issued by Canada Post to promote Les Floralies de Montreal, a major floral show held in that city in July 1981.The rose that graces the stamp is named The Montreal Rose. The First Day Cover for it  was issued on July 21, 1981. Just think of a stamp with the words in English and en francais printed on it: The City of Welland Rose.

Canada is not the only country to dedicate postage to roses and other flowers. As an example, I have provided a photograph (below) of rose stamps issued in Australia.

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One would hope there would be a queue of community groups and organizations eager to  be part of a City of Welland-rose stamp initiative.

At the front of the line of course should be the City of Welland itself. Other team players could include: Welland Horticultural Society, Welland Rose Festival committee, Welland-Pelham Chamber of Commerce, Heritage Welland and Welland Historical Museum.

No one can cite as an excuse: “We don’t know what to do”.  Canada Post gives a good explanation on what needs to be done on its website. Here’s an excerpt:

“The Policy

Canada Post welcomes all Canadians to participate in proposing stamp subjects.

Canadians may submit suggestions for subjects to be used on stamps. Each year, Canada Post’s stamp program consists of about 20 broad subjects or themes covering some 40 to 50 individual stamps. The Board of Directors approves the stamp program.

A national Stamp Advisory Committee guides Canada Post in selecting stamp subjects and designs. The committee is made up of leading Canadians from across the country selected for their general historic, design or philatelic knowledge. The Committee evaluates all suggestions received based on their contributions to celebrating and promoting Canada—our heroes, our leading personalities, our heritage, our traditions and our achievements, as well as their potential to appeal to Canadians. In addition, Canada Post makes every effort to maintain regional and cultural balance in selecting subjects and designs so that stamps appropriately reflect all aspects of our nation.

Canada Post commissions Canadian designers to create stamp designs for the subjects selected. Stamp designers are selected for their demonstrated skill in both graphic arts and miniaturization, and for their potential to create new and innovative (for example, holographic) stamps. Designers’ imaginations are restricted only by the size of the final artwork. The Stamp Advisory Committee reviews and recommends to Canada Post approval of the design and content of individual stamps.

Making Suggestions for Stamp Subjects

To allow for the time needed to review the many suggestions received, conduct the research and selection process, and design, produce and promote stamps, those who wish to propose stamp subjects should submit their suggestions a minimum of two years before the beginning of the desired year of issue. Annual stamp programs close in the summer of the year before the stamps are issued. This is an important consideration for those suggesting subjects related to anniversaries or other time-sensitive events.

Suggestions should include a brief description of the subject, its importance in the Canadian context, and any significant anniversaries or upcoming events. Canada Post treats voluntary submissions of artwork as subject suggestions only.”

How easy is that!

And, the time is certainly ripe for Welland to make an effort.

Welland Horticultural Society is  in its 96th year, which means its 100th anniversary will be celebrated in 2018. That’s a “significant anniversary”, in reference to Canada Post’s criteria.

If that year doesn’t work out,  there is  2021 to propose as an alternate choice. That year is the 100th anniversary (Oct. 18, 1921) of  when Welland was officially named Canada’s Rose City. And the “importance in the Canadian context”? The City of Welland rose is the official flower of Canada’s Rose City. How much more rich Canadian context can we have?

Time is on our side – but we must start soon. Welland deserves to have a stamp showcasing the City of Welland rose. All we need is some leadership to get this initiative off the ground – and that should come from one or more of the previously mentioned groups.

I’ll make the point again – Welland deserves to have a stamp showcasing the City of Welland rose. And the City of Welland rose deserves to have a stamp showcasing it. Going after that “stamp” of approval is a project this community should be able to lick.

Reporter’s Notebook Fast Facts:

To anyone – gardeners, stamp collectors, curiosity seekers – interested in acquiring the two-stamp issue (Konrad Henkel and Maid of Honour) coming out Wednesday: You can buy them in a booklet of 10 for $8.50 plus tax and also available is a souvenir sheet, $1.70 and a First Day Cover, $2.70 plus 13% tax.

(A former reporter and city editor, Joe Barkovich lives in his hometown of Welland, Ontario, Canada’s Rose City.)

 

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