Monday, July 27, 2015

Trinidad and Tobago

Postcard showing Carnival in Trinidad, the island's most important celebration and one of the largest Carnivals in the Caribbean. Many thanks to my Uncle Pierre and Aunt Ginette for sending it to me. – Despite the fact that the Caribbean is a popular place for holidaying Canadians, it's certainly one of the biggest black holes in my collection. Any Caribbean friends and readers, feel free to help me out. ;-)

Stamps from the 1990 definitive set featuring local birds. Pictured here is the bananaquit, Coereba flaveola, a common bird found in tropical South America and the Caribbean.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Postcard showing Mont Orgueil Castle in Jersey. Construction of the castle began in 1204 and it continued to be used as a fortification until the invention of gunpowder made it obsolete. Walter Raleigh, of privateer fame and Governor of Jersey in 1600, rejected a plan to demolish the castle and recycle the stone for new fortifications, saying "twere pity to cast it down". It was then variously used as a prison and military barracks until it was turned into a museum in 1923.

Stamp on the left from the 2005 definitive series of wildflowers, featuring common knapweed, Centaurea nigra, a common plant in Europe. Stamp on the right from the 2011 Europa series on forests, a set of four featuring local trees, pictured English oak, Quercus robur, a very long-lived tree species found throughout Europe.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

New World Heritage sites 2015

As this year's World Heritage Committee meeting wraps up in Bonn Germany, a big congratulations to the 24 new sites and three extensions that were inscribed on the World Heritage list, bringing the total number of Sites to 1031, in 163 countries. Special congratulations to Jamaica for adding its first site to the list, Blue and John Crow Mountains, and to my adopted home, Singapore, for adding its first site to the list as well, the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

There had been a bit of controversy surrounding the Committee meeting as there was a big push to put Australia's Great Barrier Reef site on the List of World Heritage in Danger following the approval of large-scale development and mining plans on the near shore and the deterioration in reef health. In the end, it was not placed on the list, but UNESCO basically said "We're watching you". I was also a bit surprised not to see Pimachiowin Aki back up for consideration. Pimachiowin Aki is a large stretch of pristine boreal forests in Northern Central Canada that includes the ancestral lands of several indigenous people. Listing was deferred at the 2013 Meeting to give Canada time to improve certain aspects of the bid. Given our current government's rather dreadful attitude towards indigenous people, I'm not surprised they didn't make any efforts to do so. What a pity! Hopefully things will improve following our national elections in the autumn.

More information all all the new sites from UNESCO's site here.

Aqueduct of Padre Tembleque Hydraulic System (Mexico)
Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalú and Monreale (Italy)
Baekje Historic Areas (South Korea)
Baptism Site “Bethany Beyond the Jordan” (Al-Maghtas) (Jordan)
Champagne Hillsides, Houses and Cellars (France)
Christiansfeld, a Moravian Church Settlement (Denmark)
Climats, terroirs of Burgundy (France)
Cultural Landscape of Maymand (Iran)
Diyarbakır Fortress and Hevsel Gardens Cultural Landscape (Turkey)
Ephesus (Turkey)
Fray Bentos Cultural-Industrial Landscape (Uruguay)
Great Burkhan Khaldun Mountain and its surrounding sacred landscape (Mongolia)
Necropolis of Bet She’arim: A Landmark of Jewish Renewal (Israel)
Rjukan–Notodden Industrial Heritage Site (Norway)
Rock Art in the Hail Region of Saudi Arabia (Saudi Arabia)
San Antonio Missions (United States of America)
Singapore Botanical Gardens (Singapore)
Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and Steel, Shipbuilding and Coal Mining (Japan)
Speicherstadt and Kontorhaus District with Chilehaus (Germany)
Susa (Iran)
The Forth Bridge (United Kingdom)
The par force hunting landscape in North Zealand (Denmark)
Tusi Sites (China)
Blue and John Crow Mountains (Jamaica)