Next week, on June 16, 2016 from 6-9 pm we'll be taking part in Toronto's First Post Office's Paper Fair. In anticipation of this unique event, Kat Akerfeldt, the Assistant Curator At Toronto's First Post Office (The Town of York Historical Society), is kindly taking over our blog today to tell you everything you need to know before you visit. Thanks so much Kat for sharing about gem that should surely be on your list of urban adventures in Toronto.
Toronto’s First Post Office is neatly tucked into Toronto’s Old Town neighbourhood, behind two flags and a Canada Post box. It often comes as a surprise to discover that this demure little museum is not only an operating post office, but a National Historic Site and one of the oldest buildings in Toronto as well.
In fact, the Post Office pre-dates the city. In 1833, the town of York was booming, and letter-writing was booming too. The Postmaster, James Scott Howard, had bought land in the center of the town, between mighty Bank of Upper Canada and the home of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and built York’s fourth Post Office. On March 6, 1834, it became Toronto’s first.
Then as now, the Post Office is open 7 days a week, and features a Canada Post outlet, post office boxes for rent behind hand-painted windows, and a reading room supplied with paper, quill and ink. Then as now, visitors and townsfolk alike gather to share the latest news, shoot the breeze, or, as one of Canada’s earliest and most prolific letter-writers said, to “take advantage of the happy and marvellous invention of transmitting thoughts on a sheet of paper over any distance imaginable.”
Admission to the museum is free, including our permanent exhibit on the Royal Mail in Upper Canada, a model of the Town of York in 1837, changing exhibits on the buildings and the people of York and early Toronto, and all kinds of writing equipment! If you would like to send a letter using 19th century materials (cotton paper, goose quills, ink, and sealing wax), our Postmistress will supply you with instruction and everything you need for only $2.
Letter-writing is enjoying something of a renaissance, and Toronto’s First Post Office is a regular destination for those who love stationery and unusual writing equipment, and appreciate a Postmistress who knows her business. We hold regular letter-writing and mail art meet-ups, and now, with Paper Fair, we’d like to introduce some of the best paper goods makers in Toronto to our community, and to our gift shop!
Paper Fair will be held at Toronto’s First Post Office, at 260 Adelaide St. East, on June 16, 2016, from 6-9pm. Bring a bag for your new stash of beautiful stationery and paper goods!