Postal workers toil all night Christmas eve

In 1920, Montreal postal workers were on the job all night on Christmas eve, so that carriers could deliver the last of the Christmas mail on Christmas morning, as reported in the following item from the Montreal Star, December 23, 1920.

The real Christmas mail arrived from the Old Country this morning, when the Empress of France, with fourteen carloads of letters and packages, docked at St. John at 8 o’clock. The mail should reach Montreal about 8 p.m. Friday [December 24], say post office officials, and every member of the staff will do his best to have it delivered on Christmas morning. The mail, which consists of close on seven thousand bags, will be re-shipped from St. John on a special mail train of fourteen cars, which will leave that port tonight at 7 o’clock.

While the mail clerks are not assisted by extra hands, as instructing a beginner is considered more difficult than doing the work themselves, they are working day and night to see that greetings and gifts reach their destination. As soon as the overseas mail arrives the men will rush through the sorting and will be at work on it all through Christmas Eve and until dawn Christmas morning, in order that it may be ready for the carriers to distribute in the morning.

The authorities also report that one of the largest mails ever shipped from Canada to Great Britain arrived on the 22nd, thus assuring friends here who had sent Christmas gifts back to relatives and acquaintances in the Old Country that their parcels would be delivered not later than the 24th. The speedy delivery is attributed to the fact that two of the best steamers, the Empress of Britain of the C.P.O.S. line, and the Megantic of the White Star line had been engaged to take the mail overseas. News has not yet been received of the arrival of letters which were mailed too late to be dispatched by these steamers and which were sent via New York, but officials are confident that they too will reach their destination in time.

Unfamiliar Canadian History Stories 116


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