In today’s world of electronic communications, we tend to see the mail service, so-called “snail mail,” as a slow, archaic entity that remains only marginally viable.
However, at one time the establishment of a post office in a community was a huge leap forward, allowing access to services and goods for both local businesses and individuals.
One of the most celebrated examples of Canadians receiving goods through the mail was when ordering items on the fabled Seers Catalogue.
The changes instigated by the advent of mail service were every bit as radical as electronic communications have become in the contemporary world.
To celebrate the history of Canadian mail service from the advent of Royal Mail Canada to its present incarnation as Canada Post, the Girouxville Museum has put together a display tracing the history of mail service in this country and celebrating the positive influence of having mail delivery especially in rural communities.
Rural mail delivery services were established in Canada in 1908 and the extension of residential mail delivery to all Canadians living in rural areas, was a real accomplishment for the Post Office, which like the railway, was an important facet in nation building.
Mail services were a boon for rural communities such as Girouxville and many others in this region.
Theresa St. Germain, researched and mounted the exhibit and a particularly striking part of the exhibit is the authentic looking, twine bound packages on which St. Germain placed an excellent facsimile of Canada’s first 3-penny stamp.
Sylvia Giroux was the first postmistress in Girouxville, holding the position from January 1929 to December 1941 when Marie Louise Giroux succeeded her as postmistress, holding the position for approximately six months from December 1941 to July 1942.
Since 1942 the position has been held by Nicholas Rondelet, Julia Rondelet, Fred Coward, Sonia Coward, Germaine Cartier, Alphonse Deslauriers, Rita Bernard, Louise Limoges to the current postmistress Doris Dumont who assumed the position in 2011.
The Canada Mail Service exhibition also provides interesting background information such as the establishment of Canadian postal codes and photographs and historical information regarding the local Post Office.
Of course, the Mail Service exhibit is only one reason to pay a visit to Girouxville Museum as its extensive collection of local artifacts tells the story of the way of life of the early Francophone pioneers, missionaries and First Nations and outlines the economic, technological and social development of the people in the region.
The collection is extensive and is sure to be just as compelling for local residents as it is for tourists.
The collection represents the working, domestic, family and community life locally, and through the collection, one can trace the historical trajectory from the early settler days up to the more recent past.
Thomas Yaremco is the Girouxville Museum coordinator this season and the museum is open Monday to Friday, from 9am to 4pm from July 8 to August 31.