Albert Jackson Postal Processing Centre opens in 2023

Generations of Jacksons

In north Scarborough, Canada Post is building a mail processing centre that will open early next year. It’s the largest zero carbon-producing industrial project of its kind in Canada. The state-of-the-art facility will be able to process a million packages a day, and have them ready for dispatch in four minutes.

Last Friday Canada post conducted a ceremony at the site – in a tent erected for the occasion – to announce that the building will be named the Albert Jackson Processing Centre.

 “One of the key principles to help us guide the design of this plant is inclusion. It became a big part of who we are and what we’re striving to be. It took us way too long to recognize the responsibility we have to serve all Canadians. That is why we decided to do right by our people. We did not always live up to these ideals, but we’ve learned that it is important to acknowledge our past so we can do better. That is why we decided to name this flagship facility after Albert Jackson,” said Canada Post CEO Doug Ettinger, addressing a crowd of 200 attendees.

CEO Doug Ettinger

“140 years ago when he was made to fight for his job, we dedicate this building to him – The Albert Jackson Processing Centre.”

Albert Jackson was born into slavery in 1857 in Delaware, USA. In 1958, Ann Maria Jackson with her seven children, including one-year-old Albert, escaped via the famous Underground Railroad, crossed into Canada, arrived in St. Catharines, Ontario, and finally settled in Toronto.

In 1882, Jackson was hired as a letter carrier in Toronto, but his co-workers refused to train him and handed him a mop and pail instead. After community members came out in support of Jackson, Prime Minister John A. MacDonald intervened and had him reinstated. Jackson returned to his post days later and served as a letter carrier for almost 36 years. He was 63 years old when died in 1918.

“Do you need a Phd to delivered letter?” wondered Jojo Chintoh, former documentary reporter for Citytv in Toronto. Speaking to the Caribbean Camera, Chitoh added, “Honouring a Black man. One of us. When I came to this city there was not that much diversity as it is today.

“This is a man who came here as a little guy, a slave. Just think of his accomplishments!”

Lawrence Jackson – Albert’s grandson

It’s worth thinking about: Jackson raised a family of four in Harbord Village (Bathurst and Bloor area), and at the height of his working life had owned 12 properties. The generations he spawned have gone on live accomplished lives in a variety of fields.

In 2013, a laneway in Harbord Village was named after Jackson. In February 2019, Canada Post

released a stamp depicting the first Black postie in Canada.

“It’s important to recognize how symbolic this moment is in Canadian history,” said Member of Parliament Michael Coteau. “To have the most advanced facility that Canada Post has produced and name it after someone from our community whose contribution goes back 150 years, sends a very strong message that we are part of the history of this nation, we helped build this country. Symbolically, it’s a grand gesture by the government to acknowledge our role in the development of this country.”

Micheal Coteau, Jay Douglas, Jo Jo Chintoh, unknown