|Toronto’s formal existance began on March 6, 1834, when the Town of York was renamed and incorporated as the City of Toronto. Illustrated to the left is the first cancel to be used for cancelling mail in the renamed city.|
For 47 years a central post office handled the postal needs of the City of Toronto. However, as the city grew from just a few thousand to almost 44,000 by 1859 it was clearly felt that something other than one post office was necessary. So, in 1859 Toronto introduced its first street letter boxes. It was to be another 22 years before branch offices would open. But in 1881 three additional offices would open, East, North and West.
From 1881 until the 1950's there would be a steady growth in the number of post office branch offices. The high point in post office openings was the year 1912 during which 52 offices were opened.
A chart showing Toronto's population from 1831 is at the end of this page.
The high water mark in the total number of post offices in Toronto occurred in the 1950's with a total of 257 open offices falling to 185 in the late 1980's. An area for future study is an examination of the role of the RPOs (Retail Postal Outlets) in relationship to the post office branch system.
The following graph charts the openings and closings of sub-offices in Toronto by decade.
This data for the analysis comes from Robert Smith's book "Ontario Post Offices". Much thanks goes to him for the work he did in gathering this information. Bob should not be held responsible for any misinterpretation of the data.
It should be noted that the raw information, as Smith points out, comes from Post Offices records which may be incomplete and, in some cases, inaccurate. In some cases I have added opening dates based on proof cancels from the series of proof books by J. Paul Hughes and published by Robert A. Lee. But the figures and charts here should give an overall picture of the development of the Toronto postal system from 1883 to 1988. (Smith's book was pubished in 1988)
Population data for the City of Toronto was supplied by Kathleen Wyman of the Urban Affairs Library (Toronto Public Library). It was taken from official Canadian census data. I am grateful to her for this information.
The charts and information on this page was updated on August 4, 2002