Wednesday, July 31, 2013

United Kingdom – England

Postcard from England's smallest city, Wells, in Somerset. With a population of 10,000, it is a city by virtue of its cathedral, and was designated a city in 1205. Pictured is the Vicar's Close, claimed to be the oldest purely residential street with its original buildings all surviving intact in Europe. They were built to house cathedral priests, with the first building of the Close connected by walkway to the Cathedral itself. Records indicate that construction of all buildings in the Close was completed by 1412.

Royal Mail stamp from the 2013 home countries series showing an oak tree for England. Now I just need the one from Scotland to round out the set.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

United Kingdom III

Postcard from the English coastal city of Plymouth showing Smeaton's Tower, a lighthouse that once stood 20 kilometres out to sea to warn ships of dangerous rocks. It was built in 1759 then later dismantled and rebuilt in Plymouth in 1882 as a memorial to its designer, John Smeaton, a celebrated civil engineer.

Usual British Machin Queen's head stamps.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Canada – Yukon II

Postcard shows a man panning for Klondike gold. The Klondike Gold Rush of 1896–1898 was the last and most renowned of the world’s great nineteenth century gold rushes when upwards of 100,000 prospectors rushed to this inaccessible and very remote part of Canada. The rush was centred on Dawson City, which grew from a Native moose-hunting camp to a city of 40,000 people in the space of a few years. Plots of land cost millions of today's dollars, and one visitor likened the newly paved streets with their smartly dressed inhabitants to the Strand in London! Part of The Klondike site on Canada's Tentative World Heritage list.

Previously featured baby black bear stamp with a Dawson City postmark, though not the same one as on this card.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Canada – Northwest Territories II

Another card from my Mum's travels in the Canadian Arctic, this time from the small community of Tuktoyaktuk on the shores of the Arctic Ocean. Tuktoyaktuk is certainly one of the more iconic place names in Canada, and I learned  it was the first community in northern Canada to revert to its traditional Native name, having been known as "Fort Brabant" prior to 1950. 

Mum dipped her toe in the Arctic Ocean and reports that it wasn't really as cold as one would expect, probably because of record-breaking summer temperatures. My many thanks to her for sending me this card from the most northerly place in my collection, 69° 27′.

Previously featured baby black bear stamp featuring a Tuktoyaktuk postmark!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Canada – Yukon

Love this postcard; it goes straight to the top as one of my favs! Another card from my Mum on her trip in the Canadian Far North. Seen here are caribou, Rangifer tarandus, on the move during their autumn migration. The herd that typically crosses the Dempster Highway is one of the world's largest, numbering more than 100,000 animals. 

The Dempster Highway connects the Klondike gold rush town of Dawson with Inuvik, north of the Arctic Circle – the furthest place north one can drive in Canada. The highway was built in fits and starts from 1959 to 1979. It was recently announced that the road would be extended, as intended, a further 194 km to reach the community of Tuktoyaktuk on the shores of the Arctic Ocean.

Previously featured stamp of baby black bear, with a rather remarkable postmark quite unlike any other I've seen from Canada, which usually have black ink and are round (that is, when Canada Post uses a postmark at all, and not its typical, unlovely dot matrix laser scan).

Monday, July 8, 2013

Canada – Northwest Territories

Postcard sent by my Mum during her holiday in the Canadian Far North. Inuvik is a planned community that was designed to replace the regional centre of Aklavik, which was prone to flooding and lacked room to grow. Inuvik "opened for business" in 1960 and is now the most northerly place in Canada to which you can drive. Postcard is of the prairie crocus, Pulsatilla patens, said to be the first sign that summer has arrived when it blooms. Many thanks to Mum for this first postcard from the Northwest Territories in my collection!

Stamp from a set on baby animals, featured here the black bear, Ursus americanus. Also featured, a lovely, rare-for-Canada,  non-laser postmark. Always happy to get one of those! :-)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Canada – Ontario V

Postcard of Sandbanks Provincial Park, near my hometown of Belleville, Ontario. It is the world's largest freshwater sand dune system. There are dunes much higher than the ones pictured here that are perfect for "sandbogganing" down straight into the lake. Lots of fun on a summer's day.

Previously featured stamp of a moose from a self-adhesive definitive set on baby animals.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Canada – Ontario IV

A groovy retro postcard of Toronto City Hall. The iconic building was designed by Finnish architect Viljo Revell following an international design competition. The design was nearly eliminated from the short list when it was saved by one of the competition judges, superstarchitect Eero Saarinen (coincidentally also a Finn), who insisted the unique design was the most innovative and deserving to win. It was open in 1965 following four years of construction and is now a designated heritage monument.

Previously featured stamp on the left from the 2012 Christmas series on Christmas cookies. Stamp on the right commemorates Tommy Douglas. He was premier of Saskatchewan and went on to lead the newly formed federal New Democratic Party. While leader of Saskatchewan, he introduced the continent's first single-payer, universal health care programme, which went on to be the model for Canada's national universal health care programme. In 2004, CBC, Canada's national broadcaster named him "The Greatest Canadian," based on a viewer-supported survey for his role as father of medicare.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Canada – British Colombia V

In honour of Canada Day today, a card of a famous icon of Canadiana, the inukshuk. Inukshuk (ᐃᓄᒃᓱᒃ) are built by Inuits in the Canadian North as reference points and navigation aids in the largely featureless Arctic tundra. As such, they wouldn't have traditionally been found in Whistler, on Canada's West Coast. Whistler was the site of ski events for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games whose logo was, of course, an inukshuk, so I suspect the one pictured here was built in that honour.

Happy Canada Day! Joyeuse fête du Canada!

Self-adhesive stamp from a previously featured set of baby animal, featured here is the moose, Alces alces.