Over the past year with the pandemic drying up my source of postcards, I’ve had to be really inventive to find any postcards. I’ve found some really great ones during the short time stores have been allowed to be open here in the last year and found some great online sources for postcards too – a few for free even.
The specimen below is one of the free ones I managed to find:
I got this postcard via Explore Canada’s Instagram account. They had multiple great photos of Canadian destinations, but I chose this one with the Northern Lights as it is one of the things I most want to see in my life. (I do think I once saw them in North York, Ontario and had a friend with me who also saw them, but we were both heavy into the sauce at the time of the stellar vision, so who knows?!). My scanner is poor, but this is one of the most beautiful postcards I have!
I composed a message to myself inspired by their caption of “I Miss You. Come Visit?”. Yes, I do miss you travel and places (that aren’t my home and neighbourhood) and I do want to come visit you anywhere very soon! Here’s the back:
“Canada. #ForGlowingHearts. forglowinghearts.ca”
“Hi Glen. Remember when you could travel? Remember when you could go further from your home than 10 blocks? Those were the days, myself! Hopefully, this pandemic will be sufficiently over by this summer that you’ll be able to go somewhere again. Even almost anywhere would be great. Okay, not Hamilton. But almost everywhere would be awesome right now. I think we’ll still need to stick close to home this year. Newfoundland maybe? Thunder Bay even? Niagara Falls at least! Let’s hope the stars align and travel will once again resume this summer. Best wishes for bon voyage. Glen.”
The postcard is a part of a campaign to promote Canadian tourism post-pandemic. Their website offers some great travel destinations here, check it out at forglowinghearts.ca. I’ve been to 7/10 provinces and 1/3 territories in Canada, but there are still places I would love to visit. Let’s hope travel once again returns to us!
Earlier this year I signed up for a boring postcard of the month club. Each month I get a new boring postcard. I love the ones I’ve got so far, but must admit that I don’t find this one boring. Check out what I mean:
I like the subject matter of this image and the composition too. It’s definitely not the “pretty as a postcard” type scenery one normally sees on the front of postcards, but I find this image really cool. The artist’s statement on the back makes me like it even more:
“I was impacted by how winter seems to so easily stop life in its tracks. In black and white it evokes feelings of death and finality, but that same space in spring will be full of birth and renewal. Adrienne Bestland. Wish you were here. Petersfield, MB”
“Glen! Happy Spring Lockdown?!? Oof. Hope you are keeping well in these trying times.”
We just had another winter like week here with temperatures back down to almost freezing again. But it now seems that spring is here to stay (hope I don’t jinx it) and maybe even summer too. The lockdown shows signs that it might be easing up too here (Toronto has had the longest lockdown in the world, Montreal is #2 and they have had the second longest lockdown.) So maybe we will have a time here of rebirth and renewal!
I received another postcard in the mail recently. This one was from a friend that has had this postcard for awhile and just now sent it to me. The timing is great as I definitely have had a drought of postcards since the pandemic.
Guess you could say my friend was storing this postcard for the right time. And now, I’ll be storing it permanently in my Hamilton, Ontario area of the Vaults.
I love the generic name of the the store – just “Store”. And the generic graphic design of this postcard fits well. With the lockdown still in effect in Ontario due to the pandemic, I won’t be visiting Store anytime soon. But I checked out their website and it does seem like the kinda place I’d love.
I do have to share my complaint about how badly Canada Post has been treating postcards for the past several months. Almost every postcard has been mangled or scrapped by them. That never used to happen even a couple years ago, so I’m not sure why they are so hard on mail nowadays. But it is really making me mad!
Here’s the backside:
“Dear Glen. I guessed “Store” would have shut down by now, but I checked and they are OPEN! Cheers”.
Judging by the completely unfinished back of the postcard, I’m thinking the Store owners weren’t actually thinking people would use this as an actual postcard.
BTW, I hate how people call postcard-like advertising cards “postcards” – even if there is marketing copy completely covering both sides making it impossible to ever mail. That said, I do love DIY postcards, when people make a postcard of things whether it was intended to be or not!
My prior blog post marked the first return of travel postcards to me since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was from an American friend of mine. As the U.S. is further ahead than Canada in their vaccines rollout, Americans appear to be travelling again. Shortly after posting it, another postcard arrived from another friend in the United States:
The postcard is from Asheville Art Museum in Asheville North Carolina. The painting of poppies is by James Daugherty.
In an earlier post, I was complaining the post offices are rarely putting cancellation stamps on postcards – let alone other kinds of stamps. These stamps or cachets are one of the things that I love about postcards, so I was sad to see them go. But as much as I love them, I HATE them on the front of a postcard. This postcard has such a great front image, that I hate how the post office marred it with their stamps. I do love the special Earth Day stamp – which would have made me very happy if it was on the back where it belongs and can be seen better.
Nonetheless, I’m happy to be getting postcards in the mail again from people’s travels. Here’s the back of the postcard with details on the sender’s trip:
“Dear Glen. Greetings from Asheville, North Carolina. This is my first trip since COVID began. I am visiting an academic friend here. Have you been here? The mountains are gorgeous. The town most interesting. I will call or e-mail on my return. Very best wishes.”
I don’t think I’ve ever been to North Carolina, let alone Asheville. For a U.S. state that is relatively close to my home of Ontario, I do not have that many postcards from North Carolina. I think that it wasn’t quite warm enough there in winters for my snowbird friends and family to visit it much and it’s too hot in summer. South Carolina, on the other hand, was one of my family’s favourite winter destinations, so I have a lot of postcards – and fond memories – of that state.
Regardless the destination, I’m glad to see signs that people are travelling again!
I’ve lamented on this blog for the past few months how the pandemic has created a shortage of my normal supply of postcards. Although, I’ve managed to find some creative ways to get postcards coming in (see prior posts). But they haven’t been enough and I’ve been in serious postcard withdrawal.
A friend in the United States, where they are far ahead of Canada in vaccinations, sent me a postcard from their nearby travels. My first fix in ages:
Oregon is one of the few U.S. states that I’ve never been to. So while this postcard does satisfy my craving, it does make me wish I could travel beyond the 10-blocks of my home that has been my prison for months.
Here is the back of the postcard:
“Oregon Coast. Cape Kiwanda.”
“Hi Glen. Here is one for your collection. We are here for our version of ‘March Break’ – the 16 year old goes back to in-person school when we get back. Will be super weird!”
Shortly after receiving this postcard, I received another travel postcard from another American friend. Perhaps things are starting to return to normal now?!?
Earlier this year I signed up for a postcard of the month club. Each month I get a postcard from an Ontario artist that depicts something boring. The first such postcard was spectacular – or rather wonderfully not!
Here is second postcard from the club:
My scanner has been doing a crappy job of things lately sadly. But these curtains remind me of so many hotels that I’ve stayed in over the years.
The photograph, to me, really captures the feel of claustrophobia and imprisonment that has reflected so much of our lives during this pandemic!
Here is the back of the postcard:
“Robert Dayton is a multidisciplinary artist, writer, and performer originally from Canada. He left Canada, then when the Prime Minister went on TV and said ‘Canadians come back for The Pandemic’, he did. This postcards is of where he is in Canada. Wish you were here. Surrey, BC”
“Glen. Fun fact- there is no door in this room! Just kidding – Robert is allowed to roam freely in Surrey now. Hope you enjoyed this week of ‘False Spring'”.
For more info on this art project, visit Postcards from Anywhere.
Below is one of my favourite postcards:
I love the retro art style of this postcard. I love travel postcards, but travel postcards with artwork (instead of photographs) are pretty rare. But this type of postcard is one of my favourite styles as I really love the individual artist’s style and how they capture the spirit and feel of a place.
I also love this postcard as it is my first postcard from Fernie, British Columbia. Fernie is in Canada’s Rocky Mountains. I have a lot of postcards from other destinations in the Rockies such as Jasper, Banff, and Whistler. But for some reason, no one I know has been to Fernie until now – or they didn’t send me a postcard 😦
I think this might also be the first postcard I have that features snowboarding!
Here is the back of the postcard:
“Glen and Family. Just got back from Fernie BC. Great to see friends! Also saw my first Robin of the Spring.”
Looking forward to some day visiting Fernie in person!
With the pandemic quarantines giving me time on my hands, I decided to count all my postcards for the first time (stay tuned for the results). In the process of counting all of the Collection, I came across some great specimens that I hadn’t seen in a long time.
This one really caught my eye:
It’s not actually a postcard – or at least not originally.
It’s a restaurant comment card. I don’t know how it made it through the mail, as it really hard to figure out the location of the essential postal items. I had to look carefully to find the stamp (did you find it?). And the address is on the front side.
Here’s the back:
“Hey Glen! Just wanted to see what I could do and still have the postal system recognize this as a post-card. Hope you like it. Toronto 14/12/2016”
I do like it – very much! It’s fascinating and hilarious that this made it through Canada Post. I have also been posting a bunch of restaurant postcards lately – and this one is a unique spin on that. Finally, this also reminded me of a restaurant that I used to go to and loved.
My family went to Frankie Tomatto’s a few times as a special treat, even though it was out of the city in Markham (and we don’t have a car). I loved Frankie’s not only because of their great food (and lots of it!) but also they had a delightfully kitsch miniature replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa (or Leaning Tower of Pizza as we called it).
In preparing this post, I learned that Frankie’s closed permanently due to the pandemic. It was a GTA legend for over 25 years. Damn pandemic!
The person who sent me this postcard has sent many great and unique specimens – but I no longer have their address. If they could send me their address (my Gmail address is still the same) then I can send them some postcards too – but none as choice as this.
R.I.P. Frankie Tomatto’s 😦
Just a couple days after my prior post on receiving a restaurant postcard, I received another one from my friend in Banff, Alberta! In my past post, I lamented the dying of a genre of postcards, restaurant ones.
This one is particularly beautiful and takes a different spin for the genre. Check it out:
Most restaurant postcards feature an image of the interior of the restaurant or the front entrance (with varying results – as not all restaurants have that much visual appeal to be a strong front image). I really love how this postcard builds an image and feeling of being in the surroundings of the restaurant rather than showing a photo of the restaurant.
You can’t tell from this photo, but the postcard has a unique texture that makes it appear old-fashioned, such as a linen postcard. The texture and imagery conjures up feelings of nostalgia, connection to nature, and exploration that Banff is so famous for.
Here is the back:
“The Vermillion Room. Bar and Brasserie.”
“Glen and Family. Thought you would like this postcard from the Banff Springs Hotel here in the Rockies. Lots of love.”
I’m happy to see restaurants postcards are still around and apparently more diverse than I thought!
Back when postcards used to be commonplace (which was only as late as the 1980s), many businesses – particularly ones catering to tourists – gave out free postcards. Hotels were the most common places for such postcards, but restaurants used to do it too.
In the Collection, I have a few postcards from restaurants. But I haven’t gotten a new one mailed to me in years! Until this one arrived yesterday from a friend in Banff, Alberta:
I’m excited to see restaurants keeping this postcard tradition alive! So excited to get this!
Check out the back. It has the most non-conventional placements for captions I’ve seen – as the top-right spot is usually reserved for where the postmark would go (back when Canada Post did this consistently) and the bottom-right is also reserved for post marks:
“Banff Grizzly House for lovers and hedonists since 1967. Banff’s favourite fondue restaurant.”
“Glen and Family. Greetings from the Rockies. Wanted to send you a postcard to let you know I was thinking of you all. Back to work now at the Grizzly House in Banff. World famous cheese fondue. Lots of love.”
My wife and I went to Banff to renew our wedding vows for our 10th anniversary. But as I was at a student’s budget back then we couldn’t try out this restaurant, Grizzly House. I would love to eat there as its famous for its fondue. And who doesn’t love fondue – cheese and chocolate are the two most perfect foods humans invented! I hope I can visit there some day soon!