Rose Information

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"Canadian White Star" Postage Stamp Story

Vancouver Rose show - June 2000

As I entered the show hall after judging was completed, Janet Wood, a past president of the Vancouver Rose Society called me and said : “George come over here and she introduced me to Gerry Takeuchi the designer of the Canadian Rose Stamps. I was very surprised to learn that he was interested in my ‘Canadian White Star’ (CWS) to be one of the four postage stamps. I never knew until then that Canada Post was planning to introduce a series of four rose stamps in 2001. He told me right away that within a week he was going to send a professional photographer to my rose garden to take a series of photographs. As I had my photo album in the car, I rushed to get the photo of C.W.S. to show it to him and said : “You will not get a better photo than this ‘Best One’ that I have ever taken of the rose. He replied: “I have to send a professional photographer to your rose garden to take new photos, no matter what...“

A few days later a well known Vancouver photographer, Alex Waterhouse-Hayward, was sent over to me for the photo session. In order to make sure that I had a good bloom, I put five CWS blooms into my (roses only) fridge two days before he came. We only used one of those blooms for the entire session and I polished the foliage and groomed the rose as carefully as possible. After we took 42 photos from different angles, different exposures etc., Alex started calling me a “Rose Stylist”. I also had to submit to Canada Post a list with all the Awards Information for CWS. I was also asked to submit the Awards Information for my miniature rose ‘Glowing Amber’, my best ever in 32 years of rose hybridizing. As they were looking for a white rose, I was reasonably sure that CWS had a good shot at being chosen, mainly because of the patriotic name. Now came the time of waiting and hoping: Will they choose CWS ?? Three months later in September, I received the unofficial information that CWS was to be one of the four “Rose Stamps”.

Nine Months Later

In June of 2001 I phoned Gerry Takeuchi and asked him how things were going with the rose stamps. Finally, which he would not admit before, he told me officially: “ Yes, your ‘Canadian White Star’ is one of the four Canadian rose stamps. Gerry invited me to come to his office to show me all the different designs for the block of 4 stamps, the 12 stamp booklet as well as the playing cards. He also indicated that Canada Post would have a “Rose Stationary Set” out for this coming Christmas and possibly also T-shirts with roses. As I left his office he told me that I might get some calls from different people in the near future. When I asked him who might call he would not say. “It's a surprise” he said.

# 1 : A week later ‘The Vancouver Sun’ called me for an interview to have a story about me, the CWS, and the ‘Rose Stamps’ issue in the paper on July 4 .

# 2 : On the 18th of July I received an E-mail from the office of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The Media Services Specialist of the Cereal Research Centre asked me if I had an invitation from Canada Post already to take part as a guest of honour for the Rose Stamps Launching Ceremony on August 1. at the Morden Research Station (branch of the Winnipeg Station) south-west of Winnipeg. They asked me if I could possibly be at the ceremony at Morden. I made arrangements within a day to fly to Winnipeg on July 31st. The media people picked me up at my Winnipeg hotel at 8.30 AM August 1st for the 1 1/2 hr. drive to Morden.

# 3 : A day before I flew to Winnipeg, I had a call from the local Coquitlam paper “THE NOW”. They wanted to interview me the next day for the story about the rose stamps and myself to be published on August 1st. As I was leaving for Morden then, I asked them to contact me a week later.

As the ceremony was scheduled to start at 2 PM I had plenty of time to check into my Morden hotel and change. I was planning to take a real ‘Canadian White Star’ with me for the ceremony but none were opening at the time. So I decided to take about ten tight blooms of my miniature rose “Glowing Amber” (Gl.A.) with me. These were much easier to pack and carry in my hand luggage in a small box with a couple of ice-packs. As Gl. A. is a good travelling rose the blooms lasted very well and were just perfect the next day. As I always do at every rose show, I wore a ‘Glowing Amber’ bloom (my best rose ever) in my lapel. I also presented one to the director of the Morden Research Station, Dr. Campbell Davidson, when I first met him at 1:45 PM. He was one of the speakers at the ceremony and he asked me if I had any more blooms in order to give a Gl. A. to every dignitary (speaker) at the launching ceremony. I said yes, and just 10 minutes before the program started he went over with me to present a ‘Glowing Amber’ bloom (each in it’s own little water tube, with a clip) to:

1 : The Honourable Peter M. Liba, C.M., O.M., Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba.
2 : Mayor Gerry Gabler of Morden.
3 : Vivian Albo, Chair of Canada Post Corporation.

So five of us all wore a ‘Glowing Amber’ bloom at the ceremony. After the unveiling of the large Stamp Posters, the end of the ceremony, I was asked to go up onto the podium by several photographers to stand beside the CWS poster for a photo session. There were also two tables set up on the lawn for the sale of the Rose Stamps, Roses Playing Cards and Official First Day Covers. One man asked me to autograph his “First Day Cover” at a sales table, and soon people lined up for me to sign my name right below the CWS Stamp. After about 20 min. I had to break it off, as I had already missed 1/2 hr. of the special reception inside the administration building hosted by the Town of Morden.

The next day, on August 2nd, Dr. Davidson took me, the President of the Canadian Rose Society, and her husband, on a tour of the Morden Research Station. I was glad to be able to travel to Morden for this ‘Special Day’ and it was an honour for me to be present at the ceremony. It was also the “most memorable occasion” since I started hybridizing roses 32 years ago in 1969.

A few days after I returned home from Morden the local paper “THE NOW” send a reporter and photographer to my home for an interview. See story “Mander’s hybrid roses get stamp of approval” published August 11, 2001. You will find the article on my Links page.

George Mander
October 2001


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