The Small But Mighty Mount Albert post office
This week, we are continuing the theme of letters being sent to faraway places. A while ago we discussed Eli Corbiere’s route from Holland Landing to Penetanguishene, delivering letters and parcels to the settlers on foot (you can find the blog post on this topic here). Today however, we will talk about the history of the post office in Mount Albert, which is currently owned and operated by Canada Post.
Originally, the name of this tiny village was Newlands. The first post office which started receiving mail was in 1854, three years after the first postage stamp was issued in Canada. The post office was in a home on Centre Road, located a half-mile south of the village proper. The first postmaster to monitor incoming and outgoing mail was Amos Toole.
Barely two years later, in 1856, the post office was moved into a building owned by Robert Hunter on Centre Street, halfway up the hill and located on the west side of the street. In 1889, the post office operated out of the drug store owned by Robert Rowland. In 1890, the post office was moved into Harry Ross’ store; he was postmaster of Mount Albert for forty years (1890 – 1930), followed by his wife, who was subsequently postmistress for eleven years (1930 – 1941). In 1950, the post office was moved across the street to a building on the north side of Mainprize’s store, which was right next to the Superior Market (see picture below).
Figure 1: Exterior photo of the Mount Albert post office, next to the Superior Market on Centre Street, 1954.
Fifteen years later, in February 1965, a new post office was being built on Centre Street. The official opening ceremony for the building occurred on August 27, 1965; the Era newspaper for September 1st reported that it was attended by John Addison, M.P. for York North, Garfield Wright, Reeve for East Gwillimbury, Warden Sidney Legge and A.A. “Lex” Mackenzie, M.L.A. for York North, in addition to a crowd of approximately 200 people. Building the post office cost $23,546 (which is worth $189,194 in today’s currency). The post office measured 37 feet by 31 feet and boasted a truck yard and loading platform at the back of the building for the purpose of loading and unloading parcels. The postmaster was Arthur Westgarth, assisted by his wife Nancy Westgarth (see figure 2).
Figure 2: The Postmaster Arthur Westgarth and his wife Nancy sorting mail in the Mount Albert post office, c. 1965.
Do you have any memories of this singular post office in Mount Albert? If you do, please let us know in the comment section!