SCUGOG: Since its opening in 1914, Port Perry’s Post Office has stood as a landmark on the south side of Queen St. for one-hundred years this month, and a celebration is in order.
On Jan. 28, from 10 a.m. till 2 p.m., the local Canada Post clerks and staff will be throwing their beloved building a birthday bash to celebrate its centennial year.
"We will be serving coffee and cake, Canada Post will be sending some representatives, displays of some old photos and documents, and offering customers the chance to have their mail marked with a commemorative stamp specially made for our branch", said 12-year-veteran Post Master Alana Murphy. "We’re inviting townspeople to come and celebrate this piece of Port Perry’s history with us!"
The Scugog Township and Scugog Heritage Committee will be erecting a plaque commemorating the anniversary and preparing a presentation for the afternoon as well.
The Post Office building we know today was planned in 1909, to replace a system of letter carriers between the many smaller post offices based in Reach, Greenbank, Prince Albert, Scugog Island, Manchester and Epsom.
The towering structure, which required 300,000 bricks to build, features a lobby and mailroom on the ground floor, with a series of bedrooms, bathrooms and offices on the upper floors. The upstairs suite, now used by modern staff as lunchroom and break room, used to be the home of the building’s live-in caretaker.
To give Port Perry’s Post Office the final touch, Public Works Canada ordered a turret clock with four-foot faces from J. Smith and Sons of the Midland Clock Works in Derby, England, and an 800-pound iron bell from John Taylor Bellfounders in Loughborough, England. The clock, which is known to be temperamental at best, requires weekly tuning and upkeep.
Due to the cost of the maintenance, the cast iron bell no longer tolls from its perch 50 feet over downtown Port Perry, though the mechanism still ticks away as it has for over 100 years.
Over the last century, the Port Perry Post Office has proved instrumental to the shopkeepers, business owners, and townspeople it serves. With the rise of e-mail, it is no secret that physical mail letters are becoming a thing of the past.
However, citizens can rest assured that the their iconic post office will be around and in use for many years to come, due to the rising tide of local small businesses and online shoppers who rely on their invoices and parcels to arrive - sleet, snow or shine.
"Alongside less frequent letters, Canada Post will always have an increasing number of addresses to keep us busy", said Ms. Murphy.
"The post industry in Canada is transforming and moving forward to a new direction, but we will continue to become even more essential to small businesses and local people."
The Port Perry Canada Post staff would like to invite readers to learn about Port Perry’s history, check out the commemorative clock tower stamp, and enjoy birthday cake with the friendly staff and clerks, on Jan. 28.