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Old Post Office Artifacts

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Local History, History + Heritage

  • 1890 Galt Summer Carnival medallion, front
    1890 Galt Summer Carnival medallion, front
  • 1890 Galt Summer Carnival medallion, back
    1890 Galt Summer Carnival medallion, back

Nicole, Queen's Square | July 3, 2018

Idea Exchange’s new digital library opens July 6, 2018, and with it are many exciting new possibilities. This building will have innovative technology programs for people of all ages and will be a community gathering place for discovery and lifelong learning.

The Old Post Office is also rich in history. Built in 1885 under the direction of architect Thomas Fuller, who was also behind the design and construction of the Canadian Parliament Buildings, the Old Post Office served as a government centre and community hub until 1935. At that time, a new post office was built on the corner of Water and Dickson Streets. However, throughout the second half of the 20th century until the early 2000s, the Old Post Office continued to be used for a myriad of colourful purposes, including a Customs Office, nightclubs, and restaurants.

In anticipation of opening day, two fascinating artifacts with historical connections to the building have been donated by community members. One, a medallion, was produced in 1890 for the Galt Summer Carnival. It has a picture of the Old Post Office on one side, and the details of the carnival on the other. The medallion was donated by Roy Schreiber of Cambridge. His grandfather, Fred Howes, who attended the carnival as a young teenager, gifted him the medallion. Summer carnivals were popular throughout the late 19th century, as a way to connect the community, and celebrate local talent and businesses.

The other artifact, a paperweight, was produced in the early 1900s to commemorate the building of the Old Post Office. While difficult to precisely date, the machine-made glass and black and white photo indicate the paperweight is from the late 1800s or early 1900s. It also features a picture of the Old Post Office without a clock in the tower. As the clock was installed in 1915, the photo was taken between 1885 and 1915. The paperweight was donated by the Rutherford Family in Cambridge, belonging to George Rutherford, a former principal of Southgate Road and St. Andrews schools in Cambridge. Typical of a Victorian era commemorative item, it would likely have been sold at a local shop to commemorate the building of the Old Post Office.

These artifacts will be on display in the Old Post Office during opening tours, starting Friday, June 29, 2018. Guests will also have the opportunity to purchase their own commemorative coin or a wooden postcard. Get your free tour tickets online now!