Island postmarks disappearing

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Mark from P.E.I. available by request only

Frank King of Vancouver, B.C., posted this photo of a Green Gables postmark on the Postage Stamp Chat Board, http://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=41899&start=200

Canada Post has once again put the stamp of change on Prince Edward Island.

Mail from P.E.I. will no longer bear a P.E.I. postmark now that it goes to Halifax for sorting, that is unless a person specifically requests it from Canada Post.

Earlier this year, people in P.E.I. began dropping their letters into one central Canada Post red box instead of having to deal with the old dual system — one for P.E.I. mail and one for the mail destined for the rest of Canada.

Canada Post also shut down local mail sorting on P.E.I., meaning all mail is going through Halifax for sorting where it’s processed by a machine rather than by human hands.

If someone mails a letter in Charlottetown that’s destined for Summerside, that letter has to go to Halifax first where a machine is sorting 25,000 to 35,000 letters per hour.

Phil Legault, media relations officer with Canada Post, said P.E.I. postmarks are still available on request.

“Canada Post continues to have several specialty location and seasonal postmarks for P.E.I., such as the postmark for Anne of Green Gables,’’ Legault said via email. “As another example, we have a postmark . . . for official first-day covers when stamps are launched and they have a connection to a location.’’

Legault said the new sorting system led to the change.

“With the introduction of high-speed sorting equipment several years ago, Canada Post has standardized the cancellation information across the country, which includes coding but not the name of the city. The digital information now placed on mail makes the processing more efficient.’’

Legault said there have always been cases where people go to the post office and request a postmark. That will remain the case.

“People will do that sometimes at income tax time of if they have to send something with a specific postmark date and they want to make sure.’’

He said all the optical character reader sorting equipment across the country produces and reads the same standardized information so that the computer system properly directs the mail (letters, parcels, etc.) through the system to its destination in the standard delivery time (two days within a city; three days within a province).

Organizations: Canada Post

Geographic location: P.E.I., Prince Edward Island, Halifax Canada Charlottetown Summerside Green Gables

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