Cash crunch streamlines Canada’s postal history

When a successful post office that serves a large number of people is closed and replaced with a back corner of a drugstore, that isn’t converting from one type of post office to another, it is a definite and permanent reduction in service. It is also a definite and permanent reduction in cost for Canada Post. It is no secret that the corporation’s biggest single budget item is paying for its staff and their gold-plated benefit packages. Chief among these is an indexed pension, with Canada Post picking up the deficit. That deficit is huge, since Canada Post has lots of employees on the retired list. What’s more, thanks to modern medicine, these people are drawing pension money out for more years than ever before. However, closing a post office today does not mean a dramatic impact on the cost of servicing the pension plan in the short term. Continue reading →

‘Historic’ Windsor post office one of many facing closure

Canada Post is coming under fire over more post office closures and sorting station reductions. In Windsor, Ont., MP Brian Masse is leading a fight to keep the Sandwich Post Office open, and to retain jobs at a local sorting facility. One of the arguments in favour of retaining the post office is the historic nature of Sandwich, a very old community in what is now West Windsor. Sandwich was the original name of Windsor, and the site of several engagements during the War of 1812. The Sandwich post office, however, is located in a building constructed long after the war. Continue reading →

Kiosks offer collecting challenges

Now I really do believe that these machines add some fun to collecting. In my perfect world, of course, they would not be necessary. I would much rather see honest-to-goodness post offices staffed by real postal workers within easy reach of all Canadians. In this mythical world, these workers would all be well-versed on philatelic issues, make every effort to ensure that gentle cancels were respected and eager to offer hand-back service. Oh, and the use of a ballpoint pen to cancel a letter would be punishable by a day in the public stocks, while stamp collectors could toss rotten fruit and junk mail at the offender. Continue reading →

Stamp kiosks part of Canada Post pilot program

“As you can imagine, Canada Post is constantly looking for innovative ways to provide service to the changing needs of its customers.” Losier said. The kiosks were set up without fanfare or announcement. In fact, Canada Post did not comment on the kiosks officially until a late January announcement on the firm’s Facebook page. Losier said the dispensing machines are manufactured by Wincor Nixdorf, a firm that already supplies dispensers for several European authorities, including France, Britain, and Ireland. Continue reading →

Canada’s mail ship is listing dangerously

Sometimes, I have to admire Deepak Chopra’s decision to take the helm of Canada Post. With all respect to Moya Greene, what he took over was a sinking ship with a striking crew. Still above water to be sure, but taking on water. The real challenge remains the corporation’s difficult relations with its staff. To continue the analogy, it is as if the captain and the crew, both of whom recognize that the ship it taking on water, can’t agree if they should plug the hole, man the pumps, or shut the watertight doors. Unable to agree, they end up pumping a bit, closing a few doors, and making the hole a bit smaller, but still continue to take on water. Meanwhile, the ship is still steaming through iceberg-infested water and more hits are to be expected. Continue reading →

Kiosk stamps pilot project marked with first-day cover

Canada Post has launched the official first-day cover (OFDC) bearing one of the stamps dispensed from its kiosks, part of a pilot project running in major cities. The cover, which had been the subject of some speculation, shows a kiosk stamp with a value of 61 cents, the domestic rate when the first prototypes of the kiosk went into operation in December. In mid-January, all kiosks started charging postage at the 2013 rate. The cover’s cancel, which has a Canada Post logo in the centre, is dated Dec. 12, 2012, the day the first kiosk went “live” in Toronto. Continue reading →

Canada’s stamp-collecting magazine goes digital

While the digital version will be pretty much the same as the print version, except for hot links inside ads and editorial content, I do believe that electronic content offers a much better experience for the reader. I’m not talking about gimmicks, such as virtual reality games that almost nobody plays. I see opportunities for enhanced content, or even content not really suited to print, being connected to these articles. Right now we’re at the early stage of a digital experience, but I’m quite sure it is just the start of a whole new way for you and me to share our love of stamps. Continue reading →

12-penny black nets $225,000

Although 51,000 were printed, only 1,510 had been sold by 1857 when the remainder were recalled and destroyed. Printed by Rawdon, Wright, Hatch and Edson, the 12-penny black was part of Canada’s first series of postage stamps. The design was based on a portrait of a young Queen Victoria by Alfred Edward Chalon. Victoria was 32 years of age at the time the stamp was ordered, but the portrait had been executed years before, when Victoria was just 18. It is believed that approximately 100 examples remain. Continue reading →

The deets in Details target a very specific audience

Here in the hobby we are pretty well informed and have the chance to look at the whole program. Most Canadians only see a small part of the picture. Later this year, in the town where I live, there will be some events to honour Laura Secord. It makes sense since I live just a short walk from the place where she met with the native warriors and British soldiers, and even closer to the site of the battle that followed. There is a good chance that the stamp showing Secord will get some play. I know if I ran the local post office I’d be selling special covers and cancels whenever I got the chance. Continue reading →

Regiment among war heroes honoured on new Canadian stamps

April 9 will see the launch of a stamp honouring the Princess of Wales’ Own Regiment (PWOR), based in Kingston, Ont. The regiment was formed in 1863, during a great Canadian militia reorganization, from seven previously independent companies. The regiment was first deployed in 1866, when it was called out first to the Niagara area, and later to Cornwall, Ont., to deter Fenian raids. In 1870 members participated in the federal expedition to Manitoba and later in 1885 the regiment served in the North West Rebellion. Continue reading →

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