Thursday, January 31, 2013

1987 Postpar Inc. Private Mail Service

Private mail service in Montreal and Quebec dates back to the 1840s. This post deals with the Postpar Inc. letter service which operated in the greater Montreal area from 1987 to 1988.

The Postpar letter service was introduced in September 1987,  a year in which labour disputes between postal workers and the Government resulted in two major disruptions of mail service. In June and July, members of the Letter Carriers' Union staged a 19-day strike. In the fall. the Canadian Union of Postal Workers organized rotating strikes from region to region, but the Montreal workers staged a general walkout.

Area Serviced

Postpar serviced the business community delivering letters to other businesses and to residential addresses. offering a letter service within the area encompassed by the following postal codes:
  •  all of  "H"
  • J3Y and J3Z
  • all of J4
  • J5R
The above postal codes represented the Urban Municipality of Montreal (as it was then known), some municipalities on the south shore of the St. Lawrence facing Montreal, and the city of Laval, north of Montreal.


Postpar letter rates were cheaper than those charged by Canada Post.

Maximum Dimensions for letters



In October, 1987, Postpar issued three postage stamps, 30c, 50c, and $1.00

 Laval to Hydro-Quebec, Montreal, June 11, 1988

April 18, 1988

Returned Mail

Thousands of Postpar letters delivered to the wrong addresses were dropped in Canada Post mail boxes for return by persons believing that the letters had been delivered by Canada Post. Canada Post was required by regulation to return these letters. By April, 1988, Canada Post had to handle 27,000 pieces of returned Postpar letters without postage, an effort which required the full-time service of two persons.

Canada Post advised Postpar that it should provide guaranteed return delivery, in response to which Postpar prepared markings providing telephone numbers to be called if the addressee had moved.

 Guaranteed Return Delivery 
If Moved Call 629-3656

Postpar Letter Redirected by Canada Post

 The addressee had moved and the Postpar letter below was put in the Canada Post mail stream.

 July 27, 1988

Canada Post did not simply return the letter to the sender but forwarded it to the addressee at his new address.

Canada Post Change of Address Label

 Canada Post enclosed the following letter in returned Postpar mail:

Dear Sir:

Recently the enclosed article was found in our mail stream. Because it did not bear Canada Post Corporation postage, our  regulations require us to return it to you,

Several thousand similar items have been found in our system during the last few weeks and we have been diligently returning them to sender.

Please be assured that it will be a pleasure to handle all of your mailings which carry the proper postage.

We look forward to serving you in the future.

Permanent Injunction

On September 8, 1988, Canada Post succeeded in obtaining a permanent injunction against the operations of Postpar Inc.  from violating the exclusive privilege conferred upon Canada Post Corporation of collecting, transmitting, and delivering letters within Canada.

 Postpar Inc. complied with the injunction, but in its brief history is believed to have delivered millions of letters in the Montreal area.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

1951 CAPEX

Canada Post Office issued a set of four stamps on September 24, 1951 to commemorate the centenary of Canada's first adhesive postage stamp. The set was released to coincide with the Canadian Association for Philatelic Exhibitions (CAPEX), an international stamp exhibition held at the CNE automotive building in Toronto from September 21 to  29, 1951.


The essays shown below feature a reproduction of the 1851 three-pence beaver stamp along with images of an 1851 steam-engine train and 1951 airplane to show the development of  methods of transportation over the century.

The 1851-1951 transportation theme was used for the issued  4c, 5c, and 7c denomination stamps. The 15 cent stamp featured  the three-pence beaver stamp without additional pictorial elements. The stamps were designed by Herman Herbert Schwartz  and engraved by Silas Ribert Allan.

 Trains (land transportation)

 Ships (water transportation)

 Stagecoach and Air Plane

Three-pence beaver
Canada's first adhesive postage stamp

Production Materials from  Library and Archives Canada

Some of the models used to design the stamps have been posted on the Canadian Postal Archives website. It is always interesting to see what inspired the stamp designer.

4 cents :  Rail Transportation

1851 - Steam Engine and Train

Bytown and Prescott Railroad wood-burning steam-engine and train

1951 - Diesel Locomotive

Canadian Pacific Railroad diesel locomotive

Collage-accepted design

Colour  Trials

5 cents : Ships
1851 - Side-Paddle Wheel steamship

 City of Toronto

1951- Modern Cruise-ship

Canadian National Steamship Prince George

Collage- accepted design

Colour Trials



7 cents : Stagecoach- Airplane

1851 - Stagecoach


Jordan's York Hotel, King St, East, York (Toronto)

1951 : Airplane


 T.C.A. Canadair North Star

Collage- accepted design

15 cents -Three-pence beaver stamp

 Canada's first adhesive postage stamp was designed by Sir Sandford Fleming.

The collages shown below differ in the  design elements at the bottom of the frames.

 Accepted design

First Day Covers


 Last Day of CAPEX, September 29, 1951

  Souvenir "Transportation  Covers"


 4 cents


 Winsdsor, N.S., to Kitchener, November 30, 1951
4 cents forward letter rate

Witaskawin, Alta., to Edmonton, October 13, 1951
4 cents forward letter rate

Collingwood to Toronto, October 15, 1951
4 cents forward letter rate + 20 cents registration

Surface Letter Rate to the United States

Toronto to Brightwood, Ore., November 11, 1951
4 cents surface letter rate to the United States

5 cents

 Toronto to Magdeburg-Sermersleben, Germany, April 5, 1952
5 cents UPU surface letter rate

7 cents

 St. John's to Toronto, June 15, 1951
7 cents domestic air mail letter rate

 Montreal (Ontario Steet East) to Malden, Mass., October 24, 1952
7 cents air mail letter rate to the United States + 20 cents registration fee

15 cents

The first-step (1/4 oz.) air mail letter rate to Europe. a common destination, was 15 cents, yet Canada Post Office had not issued a 15 cent definitive stamp to serve this need. The 15 cent CAPEX stamp was the first issue in the modern era with this denomination and fulfilled its role until the 15 cent definitive Gannet stamp was issued on April 1, 1954.

Swiss Embassy to Istanbul, Turkey, February 20, 1952
15 cents 1/4 oz. air mail letter rate to Europe

 Trail to Fontanelle, Italy, October 29, 1953
15 cents 1/4 oz. air mail letter rate to Europe

Vancouver to London, July 23, 1952
15 cents 1/4 oz. air mail letter rate to Europe

 Aldershot to Berlin, March 18, 1954 
30 cents paying the double weight (2 x 1/4 oz.) air mail letter rate

CFPO 44, Werl, Germany, to Vancouver, February 20, 1954
15 cents forces air mail rate to Canada + 10 cents Special Delivery fee

 Mixed CAPEX franking

 Saskatoon to London, February 5, 1953
30 cents paying the double weight (2 x 1/4 oz.) air mail letter rate