Saying goodbye to the old Post Office

By Lois Ann Dort    

GUYSBOROUGH – The ending was bitter sweet but after 115 years of service as the Post Office in Guysborough, the grand brick building on Guysborough’s Main Street bid farewell to her final customers and moved into a graceful retirement as a family get away. Friday, January 20 was the last working day in the building on 120 Main Street and Post Mistress Brenda Hall and long-time postal worker Rose Sullivan were there to turn the key for the last time.

The walk to the new Post Office was a short one; just across the street to the fully refurbished building at 115 Main Street, formerly the offices of Dr. Foley which relocated to the Dr. Anita Foley Health Services Centre last June.

Although change can often be difficult, the overall reaction to the move of the Post Office has been positive. Clients are happy that the new Post Office is close to the old location and has a parking lot; a perk the old Post Office did not have.

As the last shift was ending on 120 Main Street the owners of the building Mike and Joanne Halloran, as well as some Canada Post Head Office staffers were on hand to oversee the transition. Sibela Sehovic, Canada Post Real Estate Planning Manager for the Eastern Region said she wanted to thank the Hallorans for their help and cooperation in the transition. “This has been a mutual decision...a strategic decision for both sides...This is good for all the folks in Guysborough—clients and citizens.”

In a interview on Monday, Mike Halloran elaborated on the Post Office move. He said when he and his wife had bought the property three years ago they were contracted by Canada Post for a lease up until 2022. “We were as surprised as anybody,” he said when Canada Post contacted them last summer requesting to be let out of the lease early; the end of 2016.

The Hallorans were willing to change the contract obligations and will continue ongoing renovations and restoration on the old Post Office. “We’re still investing to make sure the building is in good condition. We’ll do what we can to preserve it,” he said adding that the iconic town clock was included in those plans. “Our intentions are to keep this building looking as good as it can for as long as it can.”

“It’s the most iconic building in the village,” said Halloran noting that for the time being it would serve as a vacation destination for the family. “It’s not a home but we love coming here for weeks on end.”

Last week The Journal asked a few Post Office patrons what they made of the move. Sherry McGee, who works in the community of Guysborough said, “It is going to be a change for sure. It is going to take some getting used to. It has been here as long as I can remember. It will be different. I am sure there will be a few days when I come here instead of the new one.”

MODG Councillor Neil DeCoff noted the historical significance of the old Post Office, built in 1902 and said, “We have a beautiful new Post Office and hopefully people will soon become accustomed to it. And life goes on.”

Chris West, a retired teacher, lives just down the street from the Post Office and is a daily visitor. He said that he expected changes would come when the building sold approximately three years ago to a private family. “I am glad we still have a Post Office,” he said with a chuckle. “And I am glad that the building is still going to be here and will be used as a home...It is going to be a change. I am glad someone is going to take it over and live in it.

“It’s nice that it is not going to be a significant change in the way that people deal with things,” continued West. “They don’t have to go farther to get their mail...It’s great that it won’t interrupt people’s regular patterns.”

Marie Brymer, a senior in the community, said she hated to see the old building go but was happy that it was staying in local hands. “It’s wonderful,” she said when she learned that the new location would have handicap parking in the parking lot.

“It’s the end of an era,” said Donna Hochman who frequents the Guysborough Post Office. “It’s kind of exciting. It is nice to see these buildings renovated and used for something that will enhance the town. I am excited for Monday (the official opening of the new Guysborough Post Office on 115 Main Street) to roll around.”

Joyce Andrews, another long-time customer said, “I’ll probably come down and come here; not thinking.”

Monday, January 23 came in bright and clear, a perfect day for starting a new chapter of postal service in Guysborough. The new Post Office was open for business and many citizens stopped by to get their new post office box keys and a look at the new space. A celebratory cake was offered and a guest book, to mark this day in history, was provided.