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.
The design of the covers shows a kiosk machine in the lower-left corner, while the centre shows a representation of a finger using a touch screen. The corporation has announced that the final three kiosks planned in the original run have been opened in the Toronto area. The new machines are found in Shoppers Drug Marts at 1840 Eglinton Ave. W., 1859 Leslie St., and Eglinton Square. The one-year pilot program calls for 23 kiosks in Canadian cities. So far machines have been installed in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal, without any advance announcement. Many people first discovered their existence when the kiosk stamp appeared on the firm’s Facebook page in late January.
The kiosks dispense stamps in several pre-set rates, and produce stick-on parcel labels for high amounts. They include a scale to weigh the mail to determine the correct postage. The machines do not accept cash, but process both credit and debit card payments. While only the domestic-rate OFDC had been disclosed by press time, Canada Post official Anick Losier had originally confirmed that Canada Post would issue an official-first day cover showing stamps with all three rates. The design on the stamp is a stylized maple leaf. Below it is a series of codes indicating the originating machine. Collectors refer to stamps issued by such kiosks as ATM stamps, an abbreviation of the German work Automatenmarken.