The correct way to address parcels and letters mailed to Canada and the USA
Canada and the USA have different ways of addressing parcels and letters. The most important thing is to make sure you have the correct address and postal/zip code. It sounds obvious; but it’s one of the main reasons parcels are returned.
At our online Gift Shop (What A Jewel) we find about 10% of the address information given to us is incorrect in some way. That doesn’t always mean that the parcel, if addressed that way, won’t get to the customer, it just increases the chance of it not being delivered.
Here are a few basic tips:
- Check the address carefully
- Write clearly in block letters (on parcels use a black marker)
- Include a return address (written or label) in the top left hand corner
Mail systems are now highly automated and are able to read addresses on letters making the sorting and delivery much faster.
To really speed things up both Canada Post and USPS(stamps.com) allow customers to print a label and pay online. It is really easy. Just print the label out and affix it to your parcel. It will speed up your parcel delivery and shipping, as the labels have bar codes and the address clearly printed on them and can go through the sorting process without human intervention. Also, you don’t have to wait in line at the post office for the postal worker to measure, weigh your parcel, print a label and receive payment. Just drop it on the counter and go.
How to format the address in Canada:
123 FRONT ST E
- Boulevard= BLVD
- Rural Route= R R 1
- Street Direction: eg. Northeast = NE
- Post Box: eg. PO BOX 123
- If you’re mailing to a company, put the persons name on the first line and the company name on the next line:
- If you’re addressing it to someone in an apartment or building put the apartment/suite number first then a dash and then the street number:
333 – 123 FRONT ST E
- It’s always best to put each item on a separate line, but if this is not possible then separate with a space:
OTTAWA ON K2N 3J4
The same applies to the USA parcel addressing as above, with a few small differences.
- For buildings the apartment number is placed after the address: 123 CENTRE ST S APT 555
- Zip Codes in the USA consist of 5 numbers followed by a dash and more numbers: 34587 – 2345
- The second set of numbers is not mandatory but will make delivery faster.
More and more people use their phones to place orders and this is the cause of many of the problems. The phone keyboard is small which causes keying errors. Check the address carefully before hitting the PAY button.
We are not a mega store so we do try and correct the mistakes we see. However not all online stores will do this as it’s very time consuming. If your parcel goes missing and it’s because you did not fill in the address correctly, it can cause you great inconvenience and also cost you a lot in reshipping charges. So CHECK YOUR ADDRESS INFORMATION.