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Pip Robins Accessories

Canada Post Mailbag Tote 1980 II

$349.00

Canada Post Mailbag Tote 1980 II
Canada Post Mailbag Tote 1980 II
Canada Post Mailbag Tote 1980 II
Canada Post Mailbag Tote 1980 II

Pip Robins Accessories

Canada Post Mailbag Tote 1980 II

$349.00

Sold out

This one of a kind tote has been constructed out of an authentic vintage Canada Post mailbag.

Each tote comes along with its own history: no two mailbags are exactly alike, as Canada Post used them for many years to carry mail. Each bag has its own character- rips, stains, distressing marks, and sometimes patches, each one unique.

To add to the mailbag’s history and story: in the 1970s and 1980s the bags were made at Kingston Penitentiary by the inmates serving time. Apparently, if the bags were in need of repair after being damaged while in circulation, they would be sent back to the jail and would be sewn or patched up by the men, and then sent back to Canada Post to continue to be used.

Canada Post does not often use these cotton bags, as they have switched to a more durable (and likely inexpensive) version, made of nylon. I search antique shops and auctions across Canada to find the bags; it’s a difficult and time-consuming part of the process.

Once I find a bag, I carefully clean it, disassemble it, and assess the bag for the best use of its material. I especially enjoy finding bags that have a lot of wear and tear- holes, stains, and even scrawled notes on the bag. I allow the bag to “speak to me” and from there, I decide what each one will look like. Sometimes I use the grommets from the top of the original bag as a design feature, sometimes I use leather or waxed canvas to reinforce the bottom of the bag. The dimensions of the finished tote depend on the screen-printing or stenciling of the Canada Post logo on the original mailbag.

Once I decide what the exterior of the tote will look like, I create the bag: always reinforcing the bottom, lining the inside with a durable ivory coloured cotton canvas (with lots of pockets), adding a zipper top, durable leather handles, and adding an adjustable and removable cross body strap. I double stich every single seam of the totes, using Canadian-made thread on my industrial sewing machine. This purse is built to last.

Not only are these bags one of a kind, but are a piece of Canadian history. They are fascinating and special pieces.