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Welcome to the website of the PHSC

Here's what's new!

March 2017

• The latest issue of the PHSC Journal is now available. See the Journal page.

January 2017

• Announcing the PHSC Symposium, a new initiative for the PHSC. All of the details may be found at the Symposium website. We will update the site as further information becomes available.

December 2016

• What a milestone! The 100th issue of The Northerner is now available in the Study Groups area.

November 2016

• The Spring 2016 issue of the PHSC Journal is now available. See the Journal page.

August 2016

• The Winter 2015-16 issue of the PHSC Journal is now available. See the Journal page.

April 2016

• This year's Annual General Meeting will be held April 30 at ORAPEX 2016 in Ottawa. A presentation "Small Queen Postal History" will be presented by Guillaume Vadeboncoeur.
• The Summer-Fall 2015 issue of the PHSC Journal is now available. See the Journal page.

January 2016

• The PHSC will be sharing a table with the RPSC and BNAPS at the World Stamp Expo in New York in May. If you will be attending the show, we need you to help the society by manning the booth for a short time. For more information, contact St├ęphane.

December 2015

• The Spring 2015 issue of the PHSC Journal is now available. See the Journal page. Please pay special attention to the requests for your participation in the Society included in this issue.
New Study Group For Alberta Postal History: Dale Speirs has set up a new study group for those interested in Alberta postal history. This group is open to interested members of the PHSC without charge --- there are no membership dues or organizational structure. The first two issues of the Journal of Alberta Postal History have been posted in the Study Groups section. No print version will be produced but members who want a hard copy can download the pdfs and print them. The JAPH will concentrate on the history of postal operations in Alberta.

May 2015

Did you know? Many public domain postal publications (such as Postal Guides and Reports of the Postmaster General) are available on our Postal History Reference Materials page
• The Annual General Meeting was held May 2 at ORAPEX. After a short discussion of business led by president St├ęphane Cloutier, we were entertained by Gray Scrimgeour on the topic of Canada's Trans-Pacific Steamship Mail. His powerpoint slides from this talk serve as a nice introduction to the trans-Pacific steamship sailing tables that you may find by exploring the Research area.
• At the annual breakfast of the Philatelic Specialists Society of Canada held at ORAPEX on May 3, Gray spoke on the topic of the mail and express services between Victoria and San Francisco. His powerpoint slides are presented here for your enjoyment.
• The Winter 2014-15 issue of the PHSC Journal is now available. See the Journal page.

January 2015

• The Fall 2014 issue of the PHSC Journal is now available. See the Journal page. Please pay special attention to the requests for your participation in the Society included in this issue.
• The PHSC will soon be publishing a new 555 page book on military postal history. This work, A Guide to Canadian Military Postal History 1636-1970, originally written by Lt. Col. Roland H. Webb in the years leading up to December 1970, has recently been rescued from Library and Archives Canada by Robert Toombs, Gray Scrimgeour and Brian Plain. For a limited time, we will offer pre-orders for a black and white print edition of the book. For complete information, please see the dedicated webpage or click on the advertising at right.

November 2014

• The Summer 2014 issue of the PHSC Journal is now available. See the Journal page. Please pay special attention to the requests for your participation in the Society included in this issue.

August 2014

There is a major new addition to the Early Markings database! A list of the early postmarks of Québec has been developed by Ferd Bélanger. As a result, there are nearly 6900 new entries in the database! Check out the Postmarks/Early Markings area. Note that an Introduction to the early postmarks of Canada (including an explanation of terms and shortforms) is available at the top of the righthand sidebar once you've made your way to the Early Markings page. As usual, the database is fully searchable -- you can specify province, county, town (or any sequence of letters found on a postmark) and postmark type.

Please note that this is a brand new database, and we really need reports of dates and missing items. So please take a look and make your reports to Ferd. There is a link for making reports at the bottom of the sidebar on the Early Markings page.

• Back issues of The Bull.MOOSE are now available. This is the newsletter of the MOOSE study group, which studies, for example, the Canadian MOO, MOOD, MOTO, MOON, POCON and RC cancellation types. See the study group page.

June 2014

• The Spring 2014 issue of the PHSC Journal is now available. See the Journal page. A report of the Annual General Meeting of the membership held at ORAPEX in May is included in the issue.

March 2014

• The first 2014 issue of the PHSC Journal is now available. See the Journal page.

December 2013

• The Autumn 2013 issue of the PHSC Journal is now available. See the Journal page.

September 2013

• The Summer 2013 issue of the PHSC Journal is now available. See the Journal page.

August 2013

• An archive of modern Canada Post rate tables has been added to the (modern) Rates research area. Thanks to Bob Smith for providing scans of these documents.

• The PHSC website has once again received a Vermeil award in the 2013 APS Chapter and Affiliates Web Awards.

July 2013

• The Spring 2013 issue of the PHSC Journal is now available. See the Journal page.

• All of the back issues of The Georgian Courier have now been made available at the Grey-Bruce-Dufferin-Simcoe study group site. As well, an index to issues 1-50 is now available on the Archive page. All of these features are accessible by study group members.

• A new webpage containing scanned copies of postal history publications, such as Canada Postal Guides, has been started in the Research area. See the References section. Thanks should go to Gus Knierim for providing many of the initial scans.

• For all you barrel-rollers out there, please note that in addition to the webpage showing the database of barrel postmarks, you can also now get it as a comma-delimited (CSV) file that you can download and import into a spreadsheet program. Use this if you want to carry around the most up-to-date information on barrel postmarks. You can find a link to this CSV file just before the table on the aforementioned webpage. Thanks to Mike Street for the suggestion.

April 2013

• The Winter 2013 issue of the PHSC Journal is now available. See the Journal page.

March 2013

• For those of you using Windows computers, you may encounter problems if you use Internet Explorer 10 with this website. We do not expect this situation to change, and we recommend using instead an internet browser that complies with established web standards, such as Google Chrome, Firefox or Apple's Safari, all of which are available free of charge.

February 2013

• In the Postmarks section, the heading 'Broken Circles' has been changed to 'Early Markings' to more accurately reflect the contents of the database. We would like to point out that there is, in particular, a listing of straight line postmarks from all provinces in this section. Date reports and scans are needed.

January 2013

• The annual general meeting of the PHSC will take place at ORAPEX 2013 in Ottawa on May 4 at 1pm. We will have a presentation given by Michael Powell titled World War II Prisoner of War Camps in Canada. Other details about the show may be found on the ORAPEX website.

• Two publications have recently been added to the website and are available for download. The 1999 PHSC publication Canadian Manuscript Town Postmarks by David Handelman and Jacques Poitras is available on the PHSC Books page of the Research area. Ontario manuscript postmarks also appear in the broken circles database, including many that have been reported since publication of the book. As well, the monograph/exhibit by David Handelman titled Returned from the Dead Letter Office is available on the Articles page of the Research area.

• The postoffices database has recently been updated, specifically the Ontario counties of Elgin, Essex, Kent, and Norfolk, as well as the District of Kenora. It is surprising the number of addresses that were discovered for Windsor Sub Post Offices. Also surprising was that many Windsor Sub Offices were under the charge of the same Sub Postmaster who was an employee of the Post Office Department. This becomes one of the major differences between sub offices and the modern-day equivalent of postal outlets which are a total contract situation.

• During the period 1902-1919, many of the larger post offices in Canada utilized International machines to cancel (some of) their mail. It began to become apparent that these machines were not competitive, in terms of speed and accuracy, with other manufacturer's machines. Consequently, in 1910 trials were begun with machines of the Universal Stamping Company (the company that would later become Pitney-Bowes). Examples of these trial machine cancels are downright rare. We have begun a project that will document all known examples of these trials. Universal machines began to appear in many offices, and we also record all of these usages as well, up to June 1919, at which time most of the International machines were scrapped and new contracts with Universal and other companies were drawn.

• The newsletter of the Northern Canada Study Group is an entertaining read, and is available to all PHSC members. See the study group page for full information. Issue 86 was posted in the last few days.

December 2012

• The Fall 2012 issue of the PHSC Journal is now available. See the Journal page.

September 2012

• We continue the slow process of upgrading our Ontario post office database and are happy to draw attention to the fact that we now can include the Counties of Dundas, Frontenac, Haliburton and Prince Edward, as well as the District of Parry Sound. In all cases we list the periods when a post office operated as non-accounting as well as accounting. Especially for sub-offices and the modern-day equivalent we try to list the host business, the address, as well as "postmaster". To make it more interesting we add photographs of the office where available. The squeaky wheel gets the oil, so counties that have a postal history following will get priority. YOUR contribution of facts, photographs, corrections, and amendments are more than welcome and would definitely speed the process. We have many viewers, but alas very few contributors.

August 2012

• The PHSC website has received a Vermeil award in the 2012 APS Chapter and Affiliates Web Awards. From the Press Release:
The American Philatelic Society is pleased to announce the winners in its first Chapter and Affiliates Web Awards recognizing web site excellence. A total of 16 groups participated in this inaugural competition that was open to all APS chapter clubs, club or federation-run stamp shows and affiliates. Each site was evaluated in a variety of areas, including overall content, structure and navigation, visual design, functionality and interactivity.


• The Summer 2012 issue of the PHSC Journal is now available. This is the second issue commemorating the 40th anniversary of the founding of the PHSC. See the Journal page.

• The Post office lists for Algoma District, Cochrane District, Timiskaming District, as well as the County of Dufferin have been upgraded with many new anecdotal notes. We now also show, where known, the time periods when an office operated as non-accounting as opposed to the raised status of an accounting office. Generally speaking accounting offices tend to be larger, the exception being summer offices. We also now list the postmaster's name where it is tied to the name of the post office. Postmaster's names are also given where an office was served by just one person. A number of new postal addresses/locations have also been added to the notes section.

June 2012

• Membership renewal forms are now available. Payments can be made by mail or by using Paypal. Links to the appropriate Paypal payment may be found on the renewal page. Please renew promptly.

May 2012

Did you know? The Broken Circles database contains not only broken circle postmarks, but also all early postmarks including double broken circles, straight lines, manuscripts and early CDS. Flexible search tools are available. Should we rename this database?

April 2012

• All issues of the Northerner, the newsletter of the Northern Canada Study Group, are now available to all PHSC members. Lots of interesting information here. See the study group page for full information.

March 2012

• The Spring 2012 issue of the PHSC Journal is now available. This is the first of several issues commemorating the 40th anniversary of the founding of the PHSC. See the Journal page.

Maggie Toms, 1910-2012
Maggie Toms, member #66, passed away on March 7, 2012 after a short illness. She had been a member of the PHSC since 1972. Maggie had collected various sorts of Canadian postmarks, as well as the transatlantic mails between Newfoundland and France. In recent times she had collected postcards, her main interest being in the publishers and printers of her cards.

• Scans of the newsletters of the BNAPS Duplex Cancel Study Group are now available to PHSC members. See the Duplex page.

• A new exhibit titled 'Universal Postal Union Conferences in Canada' by Bob Smith is now in the Research:Exhibits area.

February 2012

• The Winter 2012 issue of the PHSC Journal is now available. See the Journal page.

December 2011

• The Fall 2011 issue of the PHSC Journal is now available. See the Journal page.

• Post offices of Assiniboia have been added.

• Forty (40) new covers from one owner's holding have been added to the 1902 Experimental Machine listing, along with scans of each.

• Please join us in celebrating the fourth anniversary of the creation of the PHSC website, December 11, 2007.

• Elgin County aficionados will want to note that there is now a CDS database available. Your reports of new dates are desperately needed.

November 2011

• The districts of Timiskaming and Cochrane, as well as the county of Essex, have recently been added to the emerging CDS database. Check it out and make your reports of dates or missing items!

September 2011

• A short report and exhibit on the 1948 experimental duplex and CDS postmarks supplied by Pitney-Bowes is now available in the Research/Articles area.

• We have restarted work on the development of a database of circular date stamp (CDS) postmarks. Initially, the database will include those items that had proof strikes taken, but of course there are many more CDS postmarks than that in existence. This is where we could really use your help! We will build the database, starting with Ontario, county by county, and add other provinces and territories as they become available. If you have items that are not in the database, please report them. To begin, we have Kent county and Algoma district from Ontario, as well as Assinaboia. See the Postmarks/CDS page.

• The Summer 2011 issue of the PHSC Journal is now available. See the Journal page.

August 2011

• An introduction to the Post Office databases, as well as notes on former and current types of post offices, is now available at the Post Offices area.

Now available: case bound and perfect bound copies of the Steinhart Rates book. Click on the ad for information about the perfect bound edition. The case bound version was a single print run and is no longer available.

July 2011

• Those of you who use the Post Office database regularly may be interested to know that you can now search by (part of a) town name, postal code, moon number or RC number. Any of these may be typed into the search box.

• An archive of the newsletters of the Canadian Meter Study Group is now available in the Study Groups area. Active from 1981-2005, this includes a wealth of material on the subject. Also available is an index for the newsletters and a pdf of the CMSG Catalogue, which predates Ross Irwin's Canadian Meter Postage Stamp Catalogue, 3rd ed., but contains much useful additional information.

• A webpage with useful postal history links has been started. We will enlarge this page over time.

• Users of Internet Explorer will notice that the login has been moved to the top of the sidebar. If the login is not visible, click on the green banner to return to the main page. This has been done to counteract a bug in Microsoft's software.

• An updated Author Guidelines document has been created to simplify the interactions between authors and the Journal editor. See the Author Guidelines page. This link is also available in the Member Utilities section of the main sidebar.

June 2011

• The Spring 2011 issue of the PHSC Journal is now available. See the Journal page.

May 2011

Did you know? You can help out by reporting new items or new dates. At the bottom of the righthand sidebar on each of the database pages is a link "Make Report" that will fill you in on how to do it. No piece of information is inconsequential!

• A new database for barrel postmarks has been created, based on a spreadsheet created by Dave Oberholtzer and Bob Smith. This will be continuously updated as new reports come in. The database can be accessed on the Barrel Rollers study group page.

March 2011

• The Winter 2011 issue of the PHSC Journal is now available. See the Journal page.

February 2011

• A searchable index of articles concerning Canadian machine cancels has been installed in the Postmarks:Machines area. Nearly 400 such articles are indexed at present. The index was prepared by Rob Leigh.

• The HA Harmers Auction catalogue of the 2005 sale of The Allan L. Steinhart Collection of Prestamp and Stampless Covers To, From and Through British North America 1685-1865 is now available at the Allan L Steinhart Memorial Website, courtesy of Harmers. This is an interactive pdf, with links to the sale's website.

• Now available is Steinhart's opus on the rates and routes of British North America and Canada that has been edited and brought to completion by Gray Scrimgeour. This is a major contribution to Canadian postal history, and will be the standard reference on the subject for years to come. Available for download to PHSC members at the Allan L Steinhart Memorial Website.

• A new exhibit titled 'Canadian Registration, 1911-1947' by David Handelman is now in the Research:Exhibits area.

January 2011

• A new exhibit on Parcel Cards by David Handelman is now in the Research:Exhibits area.

Did you know? That arrow icon that is always present on the right side of the page header (beside the Log In/Out link) is used to toggle the sidebar in and out of view. It's especially useful when using and modifying searches of the on-line databases. Try it out! You can find other tips in the How-to area.

• An overhaul of some areas of the website have been completed. You might notice the new buttons "Journal" and "Research" that now appear on the masthead. (Clearing your browser's cache might be necessary.) The Journal button leads directly to the latest issue of the Journal and the interface for searching the index of back issues. The Research area collects together all aspects of postal history research that do not have their own dedicated areas. This now includes the Allan L. Steinhart Memorial Website, as well as webpages dedicated to PHSC publications, our Rates study, our collection of on-line Exhibits and a selection of research articles. We hope that this organization will be easy to use and navigate. Please note that we have updated all of the links on the What's New page to reflect these changes.

• Gray Scrimgeour has recently remastered Steinhart's British North America and Great Britain 1838--1865, a display of transatlantic covers running well over 300 pages. Scans of covers will be upgraded to colour when they are available (check your collections!!). Although we do not expect to release this book in hardcopy, a downloadable pdf is available to (logged-in) PHSC members in the Research:PHSC Books area as well as on the Allan L. Steinhart Memorial Website.

• A page about Perfection machine cancels used in Canada has been created. See the Postmarks:Machines area.

December 2010

• The Fall 2010 issue of the PHSC Journal is now available. See the Library.

October 2010

• A major exhibit has been installed in the Research:Exhibits area of our website. This is the incredible collection of early BNA stampless covers of Allan Steinhart that was put together for CAPEX 96. Gray Scrimgeour has carefully resurrected the exhibit for display on our website. See his introduction (pdf; 94kB) for more information.

• The Summer 2010 issue of the PHSC Journal is now available. See the Journal area.

August 2010

• Posted a new exhibit titled "The 1929 Mackenzie River Air Mails" by Kevin O'Reilly in the Research:Exhibits area.

July 2010

Did you know? That arrow icon that is always present on the right side of the page header (beside the Log In/Out link) is used to toggle the sidebar in and out of view. It's especially useful when using and modifying searches of the on-line databases. Try it out! You can find other tips in the How-to area.

• A monograph by David Handelman entitled "Soldiers' Letters to or from Canada 1802-1841" is now available in the Research section.

• The International machine database of the IMCRSC is now available. This can be accessed either by navigating to the IMCRSC Study Group or by looking in the Postmarks section, under Machines. See the main IMCRSC page for instructions on how to access the data. A primer on the International machines is also available there.

June 2010

• The Spring 2010 issue of the PHSC Journal is now available. See the Journal area.

• The first sixty-five back-issues of the Northern Study Group newsletter The Northerner are now available to all PHSC members! There's lots of interesting material here for postmark, postcard, etc. collectors.

May 2010

• Repairing an inadvertent omission, a webpage describing a Saskatchewan Post Cards project is now available from the Northern Study Group.
A Significant Anniversary!
Maggie Toms, PHSC member #66, has been a member of the Society since 1972, the year of its founding as the Postal History Society of Ontario. On May 18, 2010 she will be celebrating her 100th birthday. The Society wishes her well on this memorable occasion.


April 2010

• Posted a new exhibit titled "District of Athabaska" by Gray Scrimgeour in the Research:Exhibits area.

March 2010

• Some minor work on the Coutts slogan database has been completed -- repaired a systematic problem with earliest and latest dates.

• Spring break has offered more time to get things done! The Library section of the website has been overhauled and re-organized. We have introduced a new exhibits project, with the intention of showing exhibits related to Canadian postal history. The first exhibits that have been prepared are "Hamilton Bickerdikes" by Stéphane Cloutier and "Small-town Ontario Post Offices" by Bob Smith.

• The on-line edition of Issue 140 of the PHSC Journal is now available.

• much new work has been done on the Manitoba broken circles.

February 2010

Allan Steinhart's CSN articles, in the Research:Articles area

• the complete database of slogan cancels developed and previously published by Cecil Coutts. Fully searchable and customizable, including early and late dates of use. Find this in the Postmarks:Machines area.

• a new on-line PHSC publication written by Bob Smith on the barrel postmarks of Canada. Find it in the Study Groups/Barrel area.

January 2010

• a new database of the early 2-ring and 4-ring numeral cancels of Canada. Find this in the Postmarks:Numeral area.

December 2009

• a listing of the 1902 Montreal Experimental machines, with a time-line of recorded usage.