The drive from Antigonish to Canso can be long and, at certain times of year, treacherous. And that’s with new roads that have eliminated the many twists and turns of the past. But Hughie Farrell, who has been driving the mail from Antigonish to Canso since 1967, says he’s had a pretty good run. He’s finally ready to hang up his mail cap and will make his last official mail run on Friday, December 30, 2016.
When Farrell first started in the mail business he worked as a subcontractor for Canada Post. He loaded mail into a truck in Antigonish and, much as he still does today, delivered it to Post Offices down Highway 16. He’d leave at 9:30 a.m. returning to Antigonish in the late afternoon after a full day of driving and popping in at Post Offices all along his route. Although the roads were often difficult Farrell says, “I always had pretty good luck on them.”
In the late 1960s when Farrell started driving mail, there were 18 Post Offices on his route. Today, over the same territory, there are only five. There have been other changes over the past 50 years but Farrell says things have pretty much remained the same with the exception of Canso. He’s seen a major decline in that community since the closure of the fish plant. “That made a big difference in parcels.” But, he adds, with the rising popularity of online shopping, parcel post has renewed growth.
Of course Farrell could have retired years ago, and many would have after facing some bad days on the road, but he says, “I always enjoyed it even if I had a few bad days with storms. I enjoy the people down here.”
In retirement Farrell says he’ll find plenty of things to do including driving, which he enjoys; even when he isn’t working. “I’ll do a lot of things around home that I put off. I’m sure I’ll be busy for awhile.”
Coworkers and citizens wish Farrell a happy retirement.