カナダ最古の郵便局で 5年後の自分に手紙を書いてみてはいかが・・・

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トロント市が制定されたのは、1834年3月6日のこと。この1年前に建てられた郵便局が、トロント初の郵便局として、当時9,000人であったトロント市(ヨーク)の経済と社交の中心地の役割を果たしていました。その中心人物が、アイルランド出身の移民、James Scott Howard氏。彼は郵便局長と税関の官吏、ライセンスの管理人、市の会計を司る要職につくなど、トロント市の創成期に重要な役割を果たしました。

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それから180年がたち、今も保存されているこの郵便局は「カナダ・ポスト(カナダ郵便局)」の支店の一つとして現在も営業されています。現在は外装を工事中ですが、5月頃までには完了するとのこと。さて、他の郵便局と違う点は2つ。

まず第一は、トロントが市として誕生した時代の様子を伝え、当時の郵便の仕組みについての展示が行われている「郵便博物館」が併設されていること。大変貴重な歴史的展示物や情報がわかりやすくまとめられていて、カナダの史跡としても指定されている、歴史的な建物となっています。

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展示室には、テーブルが・・・

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昔の手紙と一緒に、右側に見えるのは郵便代を払うために使われたコインやトークンが展示

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陸と川を使った配達ルートの図もわかりやすい

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こんな馬車を使った郵便配達があったのですね

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1830年代のトロントは、こんなにのんびりとした街並でした

もう一つは、当時そのままの作法で手紙を書き、封蝋をし、手紙を送る事ができること(5ドルほど)。郵便局員がお手伝いをしてくれます。

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実際に木製のペンでオリジナルのコットン紙に手紙をしたためていると、なぜか200年前にタイムスリップしたような気持ちになるから不思議です。こちらでは、Eメールと区別して「snail mail(かたつむりメール)」と呼ぶ事があります。「遅い」を「ゆったりとした」と置き換えれば、忙しい日常からしばし離れ、インクつぼにペン先を浸しながら手紙を書き送ることも、旅の楽しみになるはず。書き終わったら、手紙に砂粒を落としてインクを乾かすと、何とも不思議な風合いの色になるから不思議です。

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宛先は、家族に、友達に、恋人に? 5年後の自分に宛ててカナダから手紙を書き、封蝋で封印して自宅に送り、時が来たらロウを割って読んでみては? 手紙を書き終えたら、郵便局員が古式ゆかしく手紙を折り封筒に。切手を貼り、消印とこの郵便局ならではのスタンプを押し、封蝋で封印して完成。そのまま郵便として送る事ができます。

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こんなロマンチックな雰囲気に浸ることができるカナダ最古の郵便局。30分おきに柱時計がなんとも懐かしい音を鳴らします。

郵便局からの行き方は、下記ウエブサイトを参照して下さい。入場無料ですが、ドネーションの2ドルをお忘れなく。

Toronto’s First Post Office:

http://www.townofyork.com/pages/first-post-office-town-of-york.html

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