Bilingualism hits mail snag in Canada

Jan. 28, 2010 at 3:35 PM
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BELLE RIVER, Ontario, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Canadian postal officials can't explain why a letter wasn't delivered to the Ontario town of Belle River just because the sender used the French spelling.

The issue came to light in the southwestern Ontario town, which is 20 percent French-speaking, when a letter to resident Luc Mailloux was returned to its sender because it named the destination as Belle Riviere, instead of Belle River, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Thursday.

He complained to Mayor Tom Bain, who contacted Canada Post to inquire.

The mayor told the CBC he was told Canada Post said it needed town council approval to deliver to addresses in both official languages in the town of 32,000 people. He said the town council unanimously approved the motion and sent it to the mail carrier.

Canada Post spokesman Tom Creech told the broadcaster something had gone wrong in the process, as the street address and postal code -- similar to the U.S. Zip code -- were correct.

"Our addressing system is based on a combination of the postal code and the mailing address and we see no reason why a letter addressed to Belle Riviere would not be delivered," he said.

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