Sunflowers from the Altona area are being featured on Canada Post's fourth edition of its stamp series, From Far and Wide.
Manitoba photographer, Mike Grandmaison, snapped the pic just outside of town a few years ago.

"I was recruited in a way that in the sense I was asked to make a submission. And I made the submission about two-and-a-half years ago or so of my images," he explained. "As well, I also represent a small number of Canadian photographers, excellent Canadian photographers, so I submitted a few of those as well and they happened to like mine for this purpose."

Grandmaison, who over the years has focused his photography on agriculture and nature, said Canada Post was looking for a shot from around the Altona area and this image was part of his collection. 

The bottom half of the image is a vibrant yellow field of sunflowers, and the top half is, of course, bright blue sky with some clouds in the middle. "It's kind of kind of nice, that beautiful scenic (shot) and so, we're always looking for that. I photographed sunflowers for many years for various projects and calendars and books and that kind of thing," he said.

Being selected for a stamp project by Canada Post is nothing new for Grandmaison. In fact, this is the 10th time one of his images has been chosen. 

"Well, it's always nice," he said. "It never gets old either. It's always an honour to have one's image on the stamp."

Grandmaison's schtick, as he put it, is to capture nature and agriculture shots, which have been a heavy influence throughout his life, and over the last 40 years, has snapped shots from coast to coast to coast across Canada. 

"I lived in in Sudbury, ON and my father had lived in the bush for all his life so he would take us fishing, he would take us to collecting blueberries and would take us swimming. So, we were always and immersed in nature itself. And then we got a cottage, of course, the outskirts of the city, s that was always a big part of it. And then when I went to university, I studied Biology at Laurentian University. After graduating. I was lucky enough to to get a job up in Edmonton working at the Northern Forestry Center there and working in forestry and so, for 18 years or so, I worked in that field."

Eventually, Grandmaison was transferred to Winnipeg where he lives today.

"Back in 1996, there was an opportunity for me to make a switch. I've always been interested in photography and for me, I love forestry. I love biology. But there was something creative about my position itself that I thought was lacking, and I've been taking photographs for number of years at that point [...] and that's how I kind of got it. An interest became a passion, and the passion became my work."

The From Far and Wide stamp issue offers a traveler’s view of nine scenic locations – in seven provinces and two territories, each taken by a different photographer from across Canada. The series celebrates the incredible beauty and diversity of Canada’s natural and cultural landscapes, stated Canada Post in an email to PembinaValleyOnline.

"These stamps, just like all other stamps, were presented to the national Stamp Advisory Committee (SAC), an independent body of experts who evaluate all suggestions received based on their contributions to celebrating and promoting Canadian heroes, personalities, heritage, traditions and achievements. Canada Post makes every effort to maintain regional and cultural balance in selecting subjects and designs so that stamps appropriately reflect the diversity of Canada."

The From Far and Wide series are “definitive stamps.” They are the most common type of postage used for everyday mailings, and therefore the stamps Canadians see on much of their mail.