Toronto’s Black community, however, was well organized and had previously pushed back against other forms of racism in the city, such as the prevalence of minstrel shows in local theatres. Community leaders, working through a network anchored at the British Methodist Episcopal Church, a Black church in Toronto’s Ward community, organized a letter-writing campaign to local politicians, among them Sir John A. Macdonald, then leader of the Conservative Party and running to be re-elected as prime minister. “As a way to solicit Black votes, Albert’s superintendent was encouraged by the politicians to have [him] be trained and to take up his position [as a letter carrier],” Henry-Dixon explains. Jackson was promptly reinstated as a letter carrier and would remain one until his death in 1918.
Canada Post’s decision all these years later to name the new processing facility after Jackson is a way to honour both his legacy and how far the mail service has come in 140 years.
The massive warehouse is well situated — about 40 per cent of all e-commerce shipping in Canada originates in the Greater Toronto Area, and that figure is expected to double in the next decade. The fact that the Crown corporation has invested so ambitiously in its infrastructure suggests it’s determined to hold its own in a sector dominated by global logistics giants such as DHL, FedEX and UPS. (Canada Post, which owns Purolator and SCI Logistics, controlled about a third of the shipping market in Canada in 2020, according to Statista. It recorded a $548-million loss in 2022 in the extremely competitive market.)
Shortly before the grand opening of the Albert Jackson Processing Centre this past September, Canada Post held a private reception for Jackson’s descendants. Almost 200 people showed up, including his grandson, Lawrence, who has since passed away. And Albert Jackson’s legacy lives on beyond simply a name on a flagship e-commerce hub: two of his descendants still work for Canada Post, one in the Mississauga Gateway plant and another as a letter carrier.