Post Office and Couriers

Canada Post is the government post office in Canada. There are still a few old post offices in the city, but today most of them are small post offices inside other stores, especially drug stores like Pharmaprix, Jean Coutu and Uniprix. Sometimes they are in supermarkets and department stores, too. They are usually open every day, but their hours might be different than the store they are in.

There are many post offices near Concordia University. Here are some:

  • inside the Pharmaprix at 1500 Sainte Catherine West
  • inside the Uniprix at the Guy entrance to  Guy-Concordia (1550 de Maisonneuve West)

To find a post office near to where you live, use the Find A Post Office link on the Canada Post website. Just enter your postal code or address. You can find the hours it is open, the address and phone number. At most post offices, the workers speak English or French, because it is a service of the Government of Canada.

» Postal Codes

In Canada, postal codes have 6 letters and numbers, for example: H3G 1M8. For addresses in the U.S.A., they use a Zip Code, which as 5 numbers such as 90210. The postal code is important. If a letter doesn’t have a postal code its delivery is slow. Usually letters inside Montreal take 2-3 days, and inside Canada less than a week (depending on how far), but without a postal code, it can take much longer. If you don’t know your postal code, use the Find a Postal Code link at Canada Post.

» Stamps

Stamps for letters to anywhere inside Canada don’t have a price on them, so even if the price goes up (it goes up almost every year), the stamps can be used. Here are the prices of stamps for letters under 30g and postcards (2012):

 To  Price
 Canada  61¢
 U.S.A.  $1.05
 International  $1.80

To find the rates of other mail, such as registered, or parcel (package) mail, check the Rates and Prices at Canada Post or ask at the post office.

» Sending Parcels

If you want to send a parcel (package) to your country, you can send it by surface (ship) which is cheapest but slow (4 to 6 weeks, depending on the country), or by air which is faster (1-2 weeks) but more expensive. For small boxes, you can choose Small Packet (under 2 kg) or Light Packet (under 500 g) which are cheaper and fast. To get an idea of the prices, use the Rates and Prices calculator at their website.

When you send a box to your country, you have to fill out a customs declaration form. You must write your address, and the address you are sending it to, and a complete list of what is inside the box, and the value in dollars. When it gets to your country, the customs officers may open the package to check it, and the person who gets your package may have to pay taxes. Also, it is illegal to put some things in the mail, or send some things to other countries.

» Receiving Parcels

If your family or friend mail a package to you, Canada Post will try to deliver to your home. If someone is there when the delivery truck comes, you will get it. Usually, they come during the day, from 9:00 to 5:00, Monday to Friday. If you aren’t home, or you live in a big apartment building, you will get a Notice of Delivery. This is a piece of paper with your name and address, a date, and the address of a post office near you. It also has a number for the package.

Look at the Notice of Delivery carefully. It will say when you can go to that post office to pick up your package. It is usually the next day after 1:00 pm, or the same day after 6:00 pm. It is better to call the phone number on the Notice of Delivery to ask if your package is there. You have to tell them the number of the package. When you go to the post office, you must have an I.D. card with your name and address if possible. If you don’t have that kind of I.D. card, bring you passport. You may have to sign your name, too.

» Courier Companies

Couriers are private companies that send letters and packages more quickly than the post office. They are often used by business, but people use them to send things to different countries. Some people use couriers to send important documents, for example, document for immigration. They are more expensive, but they are much faster.

There are several courier companies: Purolator, UPS, Fedex. The companies have offices to send packages from around the city, and they will come to pick up a package from you.

They are not so convenient when you receive a package from them, however. They try to deliver to your home, but if no one is there, they leave a delivery notice on your door. You have to call their phone number to find out what to do. Some companies try to deliver again the next day, and some try three times.

Other companies need you to come to their warehouse to pick up the package. Unfortunately, the warehouses are not in convenient places – they are far from downtown and you need a car to go. If you go to the warehouse, you need ID with your address on it, and only the person whose name is on the package can pick it up.

Courier companies are best for businesses, because someone is always at the business to accept the package. If your family wants to send you a package, it is probably better if they don’t use a courier company, because it can be very difficult to receive it here. It is better to use the regular post office so you can get it from Canada Post at a post office near your home.

Another way is to talk to a neighbour who is usually at home, and ask him or her to accept your package for you. Tell your family to write the name and address of the neighbour as an alternative to yours. That way, the courier tries your home, and tries the neighbour if you aren’t home. It can save a lot of trouble.

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