SASKATOON -- A Saskatoon man’s photograph of a Peary caribou is one of five photos chosen to be a part of the snow mammals stamp collection with Canada Post.

Paul Loewen is a research engineer at the University of Saskatchewan but takes photos on the side as a hobby.

Loewen says a freelance graphic designer reached out to him late 2019 after coming across his photo of a Peary caribou that he posted online.

After further discussion, as his photo wasn’t the only one being considered, Loewen’s photo was chosen.

The photo was taken in Sept. 2006 in Eureka, Nunavut. At the time he was working as a lab operator at a weather and research station in the Canadian High Arctic.

Loewen says he and the lab manager were walking outside of the research laboratory when they saw the caribou and instantly started to take photos.

“It was a pretty magical experience.”

He said the photo required a bit of luck.

“On that day getting that picture, I would have never would have guessed it would have been on a stamp. The chances of this happening are small I would say for me,” Loewen said.

Director of stamp services at Canada Post, Jim Phillips, says the snow mammals featured on the stamps are just like Canadians.

“They adapt to the weather and snow conditions in Canada. And they all change their coats in the winter for various reasons, mostly protection to camouflage them in the snow.”

When the stamps are placed under a black light, the footprint of the animal on the stamp shows up at the bottom left - a special touch that stamp collectors might appreciate.

Phillips says the process in choosing what animals they wanted for the stamps went through the stamp advisory committee, which was founded in 1969. Eventually they came across Loewen’s work.

“We thought he’s got some fantastic photos and we’ve never worked with him before.” Phillips said. “We just loved the image he took of the caribou.”

The snow mammal collection is available for purchase in all Canada Post locations starting Tuesday. Of the three million stamps being made, Loewen’s image of the Peary caribou will be featured on 600,000 across the country.

Loewen says he plans on using some of the stamps with his photo but also save some as keepsakes and frame it on his wall.

“It’s not something that happens everyday.”