There’s something magical about receiving a card or hand-written letter in the mail, and opening it to reveal its secret.

As much as I love e-mail for keeping in touch with old and new friends, sending cards and letters to mark special occasions or just to say “hi” is still a regular hobby. Silicon Valley may be wrapped in the high-tech vibe, but its market for traditional cards continues to hold strong with consumers bustling at fine stationery shops like Papyrus and The Paper Source. The selection and customization options available are much more accessible in the US than in Canada. If you love paper, you’ll be excited with the variety available at the shops and online in the US.

Some fine paper and stationery shops:

Canada USA
Carlton Cards
Hallmark Cards
American Greetings Cards available at most large retailers, e.g. (Canada) London Drugs, (USA) Target, CVS Pharmacy
Chapters Indigo “gifts/cards” Papyrus
Kate’s Paperie
The Paper Source
Crane & Co.
Fine stationery

Postage rates for regular letters (as of 2013):

Canada USA
Within Nation $0.63 CAD $0.46 USD
To USA/Canada $1.10 CAD $1.10 USD Although USA’s postage rate for letters mailed to Canada/Mexico is the same as mailing to an International destination, the maximum letter weight for letters going to Canada/Mexico is twice the maximum letter weight of mailing internationally.
International $1.85 CAD $1.10 USD

Differences in postal service between countries:

– US postal service is called United States Postal Service (USPS), and should not to be confused with United Parcel Service of America (UPS).
– Canada’s postal service is called Canada Post.
– Both USPS and Canada Post annual postage increases are announced at the end of January.
– USPS regular mail and parcels are delivered Monday to Saturday (6 days a week).
– Canada Post regular mail and parcels are delivered Monday to Friday (5 days a week).
– USPS has a special rate for postcards mailed within the US, at $0.33 USD.
– Canada Post treats postcards sent within Canada as regular letter mail, at $0.63 CAD.
– USPS has “forever” stamps for letters mailed within the US, and letters mailed to Canada, Mexico or internationally. These stamps are, respectively, called “forever USA” and “forever global”. There is no value/price detailed on these stamps because, once purchased, the stamp can be used forever – no need to worry about annual postage increases. If you bought the forever USA stamp in 2013 and its current mailing rate was $0.46, and you mailed it next year after the postage rate increased to $0.50, then your letter would still be delivered. However, if your stamp had the value of $0.46 printed, then your letter would be returned to you because of insufficient postage.
– Canada Post has “permanent” stamps for letters mailed within Canada only. Canada’s “permanent” stamp works the same as USA’s “forever” stamp.

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