So where is it that we live?

Madoc Post Office

The post office in Madoc whence comes our mail at the Manse in Queensborough. But is Madoc our address? It’s a bit of a puzzle.

I’ve mentioned many times in previous posts that tiny Queensborough is pretty close to equidistant to two larger towns (well, technically they’re villages, but by Queesnborough standards they’re towns), Madoc and Tweed. As I wrote here, both towns have their good points, and in fact they kind of complement each other. It’s nice to have the choice when one needs to go to town.

But things get a little confusing when it comes to defining where it is exactly that we live. You see, several years ago when municipal mergers were all the rage in Ontario, the village of Tweed was merged with its surrounding township, Hungerford, and also with the previously existing municipality of Elzevir and Grimsthorpe Townships – Elzevir being the township that Queensborough is located in. So basically we in Queensborough became part of the new, larger Municipality of Tweed – or, as I like to call it, the Greater Tweed Area. We pay our property taxes to Tweed and we rely on that municipality for public works like snowplowing and garbage management. (Which in our case means that we drive our garbage the rather ridiculously long distance to the municipal dump southeast of Tweed near the hamlet of Stoco. As Raymond did not once but twice today, taking away all of this year’s leaf rakings.)

Anyway, you would think from the above that it would be safe to say that we live in the Municipality of Tweed. Ah, but it’s not, you see.

And that is because of our mailing address, which is (as it has been ever since Queensborough’s own post office – conveniently located in the much-lamented McMurray’s General Store – closed in 1969) Rural Route Number 2, Madoc. Our mail comes to us in a vehicle operating out of the Madoc Post Office, and so our mail must be so addressed.

So what does one put down when filling out a form asking for one’s address? If they want the mailing address it’s no problem: RR#2 Madoc, with the street address added in. But what if what’s wanted is our actual municipal address? That’s what outfits like, say, Hydro One – which needs to know where the property it is providing electric service to is physically located, as opposed to its mailing address – are looking for. So do we say 847 Bosley Rd., Tweed? But what if they want the postal code too? (Which, by the way, they always do.) Our postal code is the code for Madoc, no two ways about it. I don’t even know the postal code for Tweed.

Because Raymond and I are in the process of informing every bank and insurance company and utility and agency that we deal with, and every organization we belong to, of our new address, the question of that address has been front of mind of late. Most of the time the mailing address is fine, but every now and again it’s not.

Which is one reason – believe me, there are others, and other residents of Queensborough could back me up on this, I am sure – why in my opinion those municipal mergers were not all that well thought out.

Then again, perhaps there’s a solution: give Queensborough its own postal code! And while we’re at it, give us back our post office. It would be a great part-time job for some local person, and handy for us all. How about it, Canada Post?

15 thoughts on “So where is it that we live?

  1. “…847 Bosley Rd., Tweed…”
    Use this only if you don’t want to receive mail. Any such mail received by the Tweed post office will NOT be forwarded to the Madoc post office. Queensborough residents discovered this the hard way during the first year after amalgamation. I never use “Municipality of Tweed” for any type of address or physical location data, including for Hydro bills.

    The proper address for you would be:
    K. Sedgwick (or R Brassard, as the case may be)
    847 Bosley Rd
    RR # 2 Madoc ON
    K0K 2K0

    • Yes, that is the address we use whenever we can – but isn’t it weird that we have to use what really is a mailing address (as opposed to a REAL address) when we’re supposed to be giving our real address? Did I mention that I think this municipal-merger business was not all that well thought out?

  2. Well, Elzevir township has long had a dual nature: “North of 7” [including Queensborough] historically identified more strongly with Madoc & Madoc township while “south of 7” [including the capital, Actinolite] oriented towards Tweed & Hungerford township. This bifurcation of Elzevir township by Hwy 7 is reflected by the federal postal zones wherein Actinolite is served by the Tweed post office while Queensborough is served by the Madoc post office. Ditto for the telephone exchange [also a federal construct]. So with the municipal mergers imposed by the Harris govt, the Elzevir councilors threw our lot in with Tweed instead of with Madoc or Madoc township because most of them hailed from south of 7. [Note: since Madoc & Madoc township had difficulty co-existing, Madoc township never merged with anyone.]

  3. Tim and I have often had this conversation. He was very confused about moving to Mass. He had a definition of “In town”, which I thought was strange because anything within the line drawn on the map was ‘Town’. If you were out of town, you were in another town. We all butt up against each other. You can’t be in Marlborough and Hudson at the same time. Both are in Middlesex county – which all of the towns are neatly drawn into. Writing to my Sister-In-Law used to go to Peterborough, RR#7, but now it’s Otonabee-South Monhegan. Either way, she’s north of 7, if only by a mere 50 meters or so. I just usually throw all the addresses on it (Street, RR#). So long as I get the right postal code, it usually gets there 🙂

    • I feel Tim’s pain! The idea of what constitutes a “town” is quite different in New England (and maybe all of the U.S.) from what we are used to up here in rural Ontario. Here there are – or used to be, before those flippin’ (don’t get me started) municipal mergers – towns and villages and hamlets with clearly delineated lines, surrounded by what are/were quaintly known as townships, and both the towns and the townships had municipal governments, and all was well. And because all was well, of course larger (provincial) governments had to get involved and mess it all up. Grrrr.

  4. Katherine,

    As a Postal Official and a much lamented Tweed boy (Stoco, actually) I have a couple comments, first up though is a tip of that hat to Gerry Boyce, this areas gentleman historian. It’s too bad that the Queensborough P.O. closed in ’69 as postal codes didn’t come to this area till 71\72. Folks get attached to their postal codes and they don’t like change so we (Canada Post) rarely change postal codes. Down in Smithfield (Brighton) the Post Office there closed in the late 70’s and we still see mail with their old postal code on it. Same with Napanee, it was coded K0K 2R0 and then it was ‘urban coded’ for letter carrier delivery in ’76 (don’t quote me on that, I was only 4 then), and we still see that long expired 2R0 code in use.

    As for the issue of municipal boundaries and forced amalgamations I won’t say much except that this was, and remains, a huge issue for Canada Post. “Stirling” postal customers now pay taxes to Centre Hastings, Belleville, Quinte West, and Stirling-Rawdon. Cannifton, Corbyville, and Foxboro all belong to the City of Belleville now and still use their own postal codes. I feel bad trying to explain to folks new to the area that they’ve moved to Plainfield but pay their taxes to Belleville, have a “Thurlow” phone number, and get their mail out of the Foxboro Post Office!

    I was in Queensborough twice this summer and the hamlet looks great. I hope the folks there and the Municipality of Tweed keep up the good work! I’ve still got 15 years to go, if I ever get the chance to ‘code’ Queensborough I’ll let you know 

    Regards,

    Travis Shalla

    • Wow, Travis, thanks for this! Extremely enlightening – plus it makes me feel a little less dopey for thinking the Madoc/Tweed dichotomy in our address is confusing. It is confusing! Also that’s very interesting about postal codes “expiring” – who knew? And quite cheering that the good folks at Canada Post allow letters with those vintage codes to go through anyway. Hey, you must come visit Queensborough again sometime soon, and please feel free to pop in at the Manse! (Maybe you could be our village’s new postmaster?)

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