This gallery tells the history of the postal services in Sault Ste. Marie from its beginnings at the Hudson Bay Post to the Old Stone House, the new Dominion Building (now the Museum) and the move to its “new” location in 1949. Part of the exhibit features and model of Dominion Building when it opened in 1906 and the clock tower with an interior view of the layout.
A DVD also provides a virtual tour of the interior of the clock tower and the workings of the clock.
Early Postal Services at Sault Ste. Marie
The first post office at Sault Ste. Marie was at the Hudson’s Bay Company Post and was run by George Wilson.
In 1848 the post office became part of the town, it was housed at the Ermatinger Stone House on Queen Street, with Major Joseph Wilson as Postmaster. In 1856 David Pim took over as Postmaster and in 1867 moved the post office to his residence on Pim St. Mrs. Margaret Pim continued as Postmistress after her husband’s death in 1870.
The community continued to grow and in 1889 the post office moved to a building on the south side of Queen Street near the corner of Pilgrim.
Beginning in 1854 the Canadian Post Office Department employed First Nation people during the winter to carry the mail from Penatanguishene, around the shore of Lake Huron to Sault Ste. Marie. They averaged about 40 miles a day. Each carrier was required to transport 180 pounds of mail on his sled.
The sleds were hauled by hand and later by dog team. From 1862 to 1870 winter mail left the Sault twice monthly from December to April. Mail was carried by steamers during the summer months.
In 1902, the Federal government announced plans to allocate $20,000 for construction of a new Post Office at this site, the corner of Queen and East Streets.
Work on the building began in May 1904 and was completed in March 1906 at a cost of $85,000. Mail was sorted on the main floor below the glass ceiling, which let in natural light.
In 1912, free door to door mail delivery was introduced and eight letter carriers were hired although there were still few roads and the houses were far apart.