Size, power and speed, the majestic blue whale (Balænoptera musculus), king of the animal kingdom, has it all. Weighing in at between 80 and 180 metric tonnes and reaching lengths of more than 30 m, our planet has never—even in the age of dinosaurs—seen another creature this big.
It can travel at speeds of 33 km/hr, accelerating to 48 km/hr when chased, making it among the fastest whale species. This fascinating giant of the deep is also unmatched in the projection of its voice, emitting low-frequency sounds that can travel hundreds of miles (and possibly entire oceans) under water. Yet despite its outstanding stature and might, sightings of the elusive blue whale are very rare—another reason why it has fascinated us since the dawn of time.
Canada is home to two populations of the blue whale. The Atlantic population roams the waters off eastern Canada, along the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence in eastern Nova Scotia, the south coast of Newfoundland, and in the Davis Strait between Baffin Island and Greenland. Pacific populations are located off Canada’s west coast.
The stamp is the newest addition to our popular Canadian Wildlife series, which includes a grizzly bear ($8, 1997), a loon ($1, 1998), a polar bear ($2, 1998) a moose ($5, 2003), a white-tailed deer ($1, 2005), an Atlantic walrus ($1, 2005), a Peregrine falcon ($2, 2005) and a Sable Island horse ($2, 2005).
Like the wildlife definitive that preceded it, this stamp was produced using a combination of three printing techniques: intaglio (for the whale in the foreground) and offset lithography (for the colours in the background). Alain Leduc, Manager of Stamp Design and Production at Canada Post, elaborates, “The intaglio process (which was used to produce Canada’s first postage stamp) was recently reinvented using a new, state-of-the-art laser engraving technology.”
Title: Blue Whale – Canada
Date of Issue: 4 October 2010
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