Postal Terminal building—Besserer at Sussex
Sandy Hill was once home to the city’s main Post Office Terminal. Located on Besserer at Sussex, it was opened in 1936. It was a seven-storey Art Deco building designed by architect Cecil Burgess. That location was ideal because it connected directly to the railway network along the canal at a time when mail was moved by train.
In the mid-1960s, plans were underway to build a new postal terminal along with a new train station outside of downtown Ottawa. In 1972 the federal government promised that as development took place three heritage buildings were to be saved: the Union Station, the Transportation Building, and the Postal Terminal. But by the time Rideau Centre mall was opened on March 16, 1983 the terminal was gone, sacrificed to progress.
I had a short-lived career working in that Besserer building when, in 1973, I and fellow high school class mates signed on to be Christmas mail sorters, working the graveyard shift. I fell asleep while sorting the mail and in class the next day and never returned. I left with a new respect for night shift workers and postal employees in general. I regret I did not appreciate the building when I had the chance.