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416 area code envy

Probably because it's O.G. :p

Makes sense. I guess for those that's grown up here and have had that area code all their life, it's not as noticeable. Kind of like that person who has grown up and a a house in a desireable area, but doesn't fully appreciate how 'envious' others on the outside are.
Makes sense. I guess for those that's grown up here and have had that area code all their life, it's not as noticeable. Kind of like that person who has grown up and a a house in a desireable area, but doesn't fully appreciate how 'envious' others on the outside are.

Uummm.....not quite. I'd say it's even more popular with those who have indeed grown up here. It sort of states something about one's tenure in this place.
Well....sort of.
Before 2001, the Toronto area (code) needed only the 7 digits to make a call. See link.

With the advent of the new year, residents of Toronto and its surrounding regions will have to remember more numbers than just 2001.

Thanks to the demands of a population boom, more businesses and technological advances, all available telephone numbers are nearly exhausted, making the seven-digit telephone number obsolete for those living in areas with the 416 and 905 telephone area codes.

Starting March 5, all Toronto residents will have to dial 10 digits -- the 416 code and the seven-digit telephone number. This includes local calls, which will not go through without the area code.

Anyone in Toronto who wants a new phone number after that date will also get a new area code: 647.

That means some households will have different area codes.

The new area code will double the telephone numbers available in the city.

Telecommunication experts urge people not to wait until the deadline set by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to begin reprogramming all autodial systems, including alarms, telephones, fax machines, modems, pagers and cellphones.

Problems could begin appearing as early as Jan. 8, the date that recorded messages will start reminding those who dial only seven digits that they must use 10 digits beginning in March. The messages could interrupt faxes and modems as they try to connect. The machines will then not accept the material being transmitted without the sender first dialling 10 digits.

Toronto residents calling to what is commonly known as the 905 areas -- the regions of York, Peel, Halton and Durham -- are already familiar with 10-digit dialling.

However, those living within those regions are not used to dialling so many numbers for local calls. They will have to do that as well, starting June 9, the date the CRTC has declared they must use their 905 code before dialling the seven-digit telephone number. Those within the 905 area code will start receiving reminder messages in the first week of April.

They will also get a different area code after June 9 if they want a new line: 289.

Toronto and its suburbs shared the 416 code until 1993, when the commission split it into two. It allowed Toronto to keep the 416 code, while the surrounding regions were given the 905 code. The two codes were supposed to provide sufficient capacity for another decade of service.

Toronto is not the only Canadian city to experience an explosive demand for telephone service. The Vancouver area will be assigned an additional area code for all new subscribers to go into effect Nov. 3, leading to 10-digit local calls there.

Montrealers are expected to get another area code -- they already have two -- and mandatory 10-digit dialling this year.

Before the 1960's, there were phone exchange names that reflected the neighbourhoods. See link.

Were you a WAlnut or a CHerry? How about a PRincess or a GRover, and I don't mean the lovable blue Sesame Street character.

I'm referring, of course, to the old Toronto telephone exchange names, and if you're over 50, you probably remember yours. I was born eight years after Bell Canada announced it would gradually phase out exchange names in favour of "all-number calling" in 1960. (The era truly ended with the release of the March, 1966, phone book, which excluded exchange names for the first time.) But I do remember when I got my first cell phone with the new 647 area code. How alien! Where, exactly, was that? It sure didn't feel like Toronto and I begged, in vain, for my service provider to reconsider this blow to my geographic ego and placate me with a good ol' 416.

I imagine folks felt the same way upon hearing they were losing EMpire, UNiversity, RIverdale, GErrard, GLadstone and HArgrave (the last four were amalgamated to become the HOward exchange in 1957). These familiar little words had been around for so long, they'd become more than mere mnemonic devices, they'd become signifiers of place. It's not a stretch to assume that as a HArgrave in a dilapidated old semi-detached at Danforth and Greenwood, you might pine to be a HIckory in a new Don Mills split-level.

Toronto Daily Star columnist Ron Haggart reacted to Bell's announcement with his tongue firmly in cheek, writing that in future recordings of the song PEnnsylvania 6-5000, "the musicians will, of course, stand up and chant, 'Seven three six five thousand.' " In 1962, he wrote more seriously in support of Los Angeles lawyer James J. Oppen, who was suing his local phone company over the loss of exchange names.

In the earliest days of telephony, exchange names were taken directly from the central switching offices, which were usually named after the neighbourhoods they served. When Bell was forced to expand from the two-letter, four-digit system to two-letters, five-digits starting in 1951, many of the original exchange names were lost. An example of this change can still be seen today in Parkdale, at Queen Automatic Laundries at Queen Street West and Dunn Avenue. On the painted sign over the door - the one with the "Coke dots" - the number is listed as KE-8903. On the slightly newer illuminated sign that hangs over the sidewalk, the number is LE 3-8903. That's because, in 1956, the KEnwood exchange was absorbed into the much larger LEnnox exchange.

While it's especially delightful to find a survivor documenting the changeover, I regret to say that finding any relics that have weathered the past 45 years is becoming increasingly difficult. I've found another LEnnox in Parkdale at Star Hair Stylists; at Bloor Street West and Spadina, the faded Simman's Jewellers sign whispers "WA 5-9441" to remind us that Annex folk were once considered a bunch of WAlnuts. On Queen West near Trinity Bellwoods Park, a torn remnant of a sign reading, ironically, "Remnants," features a very small "EM.3-0552." How many lips silently formed the word "Empire" while fingers absentmindedly traced tiny circles in their telephone dials back when that sign was new? Further east on Queen near Spadina, the Jacob's Hardware sign shows us how some frugal business owners adapted to the loss of exchange names: with stickers. I remember finding more examples in the Junction, Mount Dennis and Weston neighbourhoods as recently as five years ago, but a recent return to those areas was as unrewarding as a busy signal.

Easier than searching by foot, of course, is to use Google, which is how I found Montreal software developer Justin Bur, who has been interested in exchange names since he was "very small" but found it tough finding detailed information.

"I was always disappointed that nobody could tell me more about this," he recalls. "It didn't seem to be terribly important and it was mostly forgotten, so it just sat there for a long time in the back of my mind."

So, when he stumbled upon the Internet's "Telephone EXchange Name Project" a few years ago - which invites people to share their memories of their own exchange names - he decided to list the Toronto and Montreal exchange names on his own website,

Looking at Mr. Bur's list, I see that my house would have been a PLymouth when new in 1961, and that my phone number today is still very much a PLymouth. Indeed, the more I explore neighbourhoods and compare the modern 10-digit numbers to the old exchange names, the more I realize most are still the same.

But even that's changing. With cell phones, it's now a fact of life that a 416 phone can call from 514 (Montreal) and you'd never know it. Some VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone services allow their customers to buy whatever area code they wish, such as Manhattan's 212, regardless of where they reside.

These new trends, Mr. Bur thinks, will be the final nail in the coffin of drawing local significance from phone numbers. "Number portability is the only thing that will destroy them," he concludes.

Goodbye, Grover.