The Buckingham Post Office - a historic site worth celebrating
It's sad but it's true – that is the general feeling hanging over the relocation of one of Canada Post's outlets in Buckingham. The post office in question, formerly located at the corner of Buckingham Avenue and Maclaren Street, is now part of the more commercial setting of Lepine Avenue, a few kilometers from the original site. Why does this change matter and why is it disappointing to some citizens?
The historical value of a 120-year-old site
Built in 1902 and formerly a large office, the building that is now the 107 Maclaren Street has served as a postal outlet for over 120 years. In 1974, following the discovery of severe damage to the infrastructure, a notice was published in the Buckingham Bulletin mentioning the demolition (and reconstruction) of the postal outlet. It was with great emotion that the residents of this region saw the face of this historic site change. According to Michel Riberdy, president of the Société historique de Buckingham (SHB), this very central location in the city always had a certain role as a social center, especially in the days before technology and media were what they are today. "It was the Facebook of its day!" says Riberdy. Ms. Rubina Dick, for her part, mentions that this place was very busy and recognized as a meeting point. Many young people were able to spend time on the steps outside the post office, exchanging gossip and news.
The post office today
Since its reconstruction, the postal counter at the corner of Buckingham Avenue and Maclaren Street has served as a sorting center for mail carriers, in addition to continuing to offer certain Canada Post services through a room in the new building. For the past few weeks, a sign has been posted on the door of the post office, indicating the relocation of the postal counter on Lépine Avenue. To the knowledge of Buckingham residents who spoke to the West Quebec Post no announcement had been made and some discovered the change by knocking on the closed door of what is now the old post office. While there is some melancholy when the historic site is mentioned, many agree that the new location on Lépine Avenue offers ample parking and greater accessibility to postal services (note that a second Canada Post outlet is located a few steps away from the old site on Maclaren Street at the corner of Bélanger and Lamennais). Nevertheless, many Gatineau residents would like to see the old post office site commemorated in some way.
On the online platform of the Société historique de Buckingham, whose mission and mandate is to preserve and promote heritage in all its forms, you will find photos, videos and informative articles detailing the value and the cultural and historical wealth of the city of Buckingham.
A huge thank you to Mr. Michel Riberdy for his help.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Outaouais Heritage Web Magazine.
Photo caption: The post office in its early days, Maclaren Street.