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Canada honors Chinatown gates with new commemorative stamps


16:38, May 02, 2013

>> Canada launches special series of stamps featuring Chinatown gates

OTTAWA, May 1 (Xinhua) -- Canada Post issued eight new stamps Wednesday to commemorate various Chinese-style gates at the country's Chinatowns.

The stamps, Canada Post Spokesman Jim Philips said, acknowledge the historical and cultural connections between Canada and China, and "honor the contributions that Chinese Canadians have made and the vital role their communities play in the cities and towns all across Canada."

The Gate of Harmonious Interest, located at the heart of Canada's first Chinatown in Victoria, British Colombia, is among the gates depicted in the set of stamps. Other stamps showcase gates in Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Mississauga, and Montreal.

Each gate contains unique elements that recognize events, such as the development of vibrant neighborhoods that welcomed Chinese immigrants, or detail the architecture and construction seen in specific regions of China.

The Ottawa Gate has a royal arch, and as such is only allowed in capital cities. Nine roofs show the Gate's status and coins imbedded in the foundation bring it and the city good luck.

"The historical and symbolic importance of these Chinese gates in Canada are beautifully represented in these stamps," Minister of State Steven Fletcher said in a statement.

"These Canadian neighborhoods provide so much diversity and energy to each city and the gates are a symbol of that," said Canada Post President and CEO Deepak Chopra. "The relevance and beauty of these eight Chinatown gates deserve this celebration."

The gates, known as paifang in Chinese, are typically made of stone or wood and were used in China to separate subdivisions within cities. In China, they now serve as monuments and reminders of the culture and heritage that the Chinese community has brought to the Canadian mosaic.

The watercolor depictions displayed on the stamps were created by eight different illustrators to give each design a unique local perspective. Designer Helene L'Heureux worked with the illustrations to ensure that the stamps came together visually as a unified set.

All eight stamps measure 32 mm x 32 mm with simulated perforations, and some 4.8 million stamps have been produced and are sold in booklets of eight. Also available are a 150 mm x 150 mm souvenir sheet and an uncut press sheet of five souvenir sheets.

Records show that the first Chinese landed on the Canadian west coast in 1788 and Chinatowns have existed in Canada since the 1880s with the building of the Canadian Pacific Railroad.

The Chinatown in Victoria is the oldest in Canada and second in age only to San Francisco's in North America, with its beginnings in the mass influx of miners from California to what is now British Columbia in 1858.

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