A lonelier mailbox: the only game in (Centre)town

by Charles Akben-Marchand

When delivering The BUZZ, it’s always interesting to see what other publications share the mailbox with our community newspaper.

By the time I get to my route Friday evening or Saturday, most mailboxes are empty. A few unkempt mailboxes will be stuffed to the gills with yellowed flyers collected over many days or weeks—I’ve even seen the previous month’s issue of The BUZZ!

Now and then, a series of mailboxes will contain a flyer for a new business, which arranged for their own flyer deliveries separate from the daily mail, or the card of an enterprising real estate agent or telecom solicitor. More often, flyers can be seen in the recycling bin.

The newspaper cradles underneath most mailboxes aren’t used anymore. Daily papers are wrapped tightly with rubber bands and tossed onto front porches. Some charming custom mailboxes have a separate compartment intended for newspapers. I try to always place The BUZZ into these compartments and hope that the recipient is charmed by the personal touch.

With the advent of Canada Post’s so-called “community” mailboxes, some newer places don’t have mailboxes at all, or at least not ones that anyone can slip a community newspaper into.

The BUZZ comes out (almost) every month in the middle of the month, which means that every now and then our deliveries would overlap with other community newspapers that have other schedules. Every few months, I might see the Centretown News (published by Carleton University’s school of journalism and communication) or the Ottawa East News/Ottawa West News (published by Metroland Media) already nestled in the mailboxes along my route.

I would often wonder how the mailbox owners react to seeing both papers. Would those who passionately dislike flyers think The BUZZ is just another ad that came with the Metroland paper?

Or, for the people who never distinguished between the two community papers with “Centretown” in the name, how did they react when they got The BUZZ and the News both at once?

I don’t get to ponder these questions anymore, because The BUZZ is now the only game in (Centre)town. The other two went out of print earlier this year: Carleton’s J-school will return in September with a digital-only publication called Capital Current, but the Metroland papers are gone for good.

As long as there are mailboxes, there will be pizza delivery flyers stuffed into them. And as long as there are volunteers writing for and delivering The BUZZ (and local businesses placing ads), we’ll continue to bring it to you!

BUZZ at the Door” is a regular column by Charles Akben-Marchand about being a volunteer delivering The Centretown BUZZ. To volunteer as a carrier for The BUZZ, email editor@centretownbuzz.com.