'Goodbye, old friend': CBC sends off mail robots

After 25 years of faithful service, it's time to let five good friends here at the CBC enjoy their well-earned retirement.

Five mailbots due to retire Oct. 1 after 25 years of service

The Canadian Broadcasting Centre's five mailbots are set to retire Oct. 1. (David Donnelly/CBC)

After 25 years of faithful service, it's time to let five good friends here at the CBC enjoy their well-earned retirement.

Trusty mail-delivering robots — or mailbots, as they were affectionately coined — Rasputin, Basher, Move It or Lose It, Maze Mobile and Mom are now headed into post-employment bliss. Employees at the Canadian Broadcasting Centre will now get their mail from community boxes.

At a send-off Friday for the beloved machines, employees shared tales of having their paths blocked by the gadgets, occasionally getting side-swiped by a determined automaton, and even a visit from Santa Claus perched atop a mailbot.

A note stuck on Basher reads, "Goodbye, old friend." (Gary Morton/CBC)

"We have been cornered by them, we have opened doors for them, we have seen them run into walls — now, we're saying goodbye," one employee said during the send-off.

Another exclaimed: "I was here when they were children!"

The organizer of the robot party said three museums have reached out to CBC in the hopes of acquiring a retired machine.

While employees adjust to a world without the chorus of beeps and having to readjust their paths (lest they get stuck), many have been comforted by the CBC Kids' Mailbot Song.

No word yet on whether or not actual human CBC retirees are feeling eclipsed by the mailbots.

About the Author

Julia Whalen

Associate Producer, CBC Toronto

Julia has been working in journalism since 2012 — first as a newspaper reporter in Moncton, before making the move to Toronto to work for CBC. She's particularly interested in social issues, health and the creative community, and is a proud Maritimer and dedicated fundraiser for type 1 diabetes research.