First Toronto Post Office
|Fourth York Post Office|
Toronto's First Post Office
|Location||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Governing body||Town of York Historical Society|
Toronto's First Post Office (or Fourth York Post Office) is an 1834 post office in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is the oldest purpose-built and the only surviving example, of a post office that functioned as a department of the British Royal Mail. After its use as a post office, it was part of a Roman Catholic boys' school and later a cold storage building. Located at 260 Adelaide Street East, the building now houses a museum and a full-service post office, run by the Town of York Historical Society.
The building opened in 1833, before York became the City of Toronto. Therefore, the post office is known both as the "Fourth York Post Office" (as there had been three prior post offices in the settlement) and "Toronto's First Post Office" (as it was the first post office to serve the newly incorporated city). The building served as a post office until 1839.
Some sources, such as John Ross Robertson, say that this building, although built in 1832, was not used as a post office until 1836. The first city directories of Toronto identifies this building, but also identifies the older post office in town, the second post office, as being an active post office in the city. This would mean that this building was one of two post offices that existed when Toronto was founded and would have been the newer post office of the time.
The style of the building is late Georgian architecture. It was originally a three-storey building, with two front doors, one for the private residence and one for the post office proper. At the time, postmasters lived in the same building as their post office. The fourth-storey roof was added in 1876, while the building was part of De La Salle Institute (today's De La Salle College), a Roman Catholic boys' school, which had built an adjoining building between the post office and the Bank of Upper Canada Building to the west.
After the school vacated the building in 1913, the building was leased for various uses until 1925, under the ownership of Christie, Brown and Company, owner of the biscuit factory across the street. In 1925, the United Farmers' Co-Operative Company bought the building along with the adjoining De La Salle building and the Bank of Upper Canada building. The post office building was converted into a cold storage food warehouse, and used in this way until 1956, when UFC sold the building. The building was used for various uses until 1971, when it was closed up and left vacant, waiting for demolition and redevelopment. The building, along with the De La Salle and bank building was bought by Sheldon and Judith Godfrey for restoration. The Godfreys discovered that the building was in fact the old post office building. It was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1980. The building was re-opened in 1982 with its present use as museum and period-style post office.
- JAMES SCOTT HOWARD: POSTMASTER, Town of York Historical Society
- Peppiatt, Liam. "Chapter 51: The Post Offices". Robertson's Landmarks of Toronto Revisited.
- Fourth York Post Office, Directory of Designations of National Historic Significance of Canada
- Fourth York Post Office, National Register of Historic Places
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