The increasing popularity of e-commerce means a busy holiday season for Canada Post, which expects to handle one billion cards, letters and packages this month.

The shipping and sorting frenzy reached its peak on Thursday, the agency’s busiest day of the year. It was the last day packages could be mailed and still have a good chance of reaching their destination by Christmas.

Sorting plants across the country were inundated with packages of clothes, toys, books and other gifts that were purchased online.

“On a regular day we do about 300,000 parcels a day. Now we’re doing half a million,” said a Canada Post employee in Montreal.

Canada Posts also attributes the spike in business to Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, once a U.S. phenomenon but now an increasingly popular way for Canadians to do their Christmas shopping.

This week, nearly 250 retailers offered another online shopping incentive – Free Shipping Day.

“This is a huge shift in our business,” said Canada Post spokesperson John Caines. “Years ago, our volume was basically some letter mail and some parcels. It’s completely reversed.”

More than half of Canadian consumers will buy at least one gift online this holiday season. And some Canadians will cross off their entire Christmas shopping list after a few hours on the Internet.

“I’m looking for those very unique and specialized gifts, so I’m able to get them shipped right to my doorstep or to my office,” shopper Carolynn Lacasse said from Ottawa.

So far, surveys suggest that Canadians have spent an average of $400 on their holiday shopping and that amount is expected to rise to $600 by the end of the season.

When entertaining and travelling costs are included, the average Canadian is expected to spend well over $1,000 before the new year begins.

With a report from CTV’s Daniele Hamamdjian