Area codes 416, 647, and 437

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Area codes 416, 647, and 437 are telephone area codes serving the single rate centre of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The incumbent local exchange carrier in the 416/647/437 territory is Bell Canada. Almost all Toronto Bell Canada landlines are in area code 416, with 647 numbers allocated disproportionately to a growing mobile telephone market and to competitive local exchange providers (such as cable and voice-over-IP gateways). Local numbers are portable, with few limited exceptions for specific services such as pocket pagers.

Demand for 416 numbers for mobile, foreign exchange and voice-over-IP service in the "905 suburbs" (Peel, Durham and York regions) has made the numbers valuable as their local calling area is a superset of that of a suburban number. For instance, Markham, Ontario voice-over-IP provider vBuzzer uses 1-416 numbers to avoid becoming long-distance to Peel Region.

History[edit]

The main area code, 416, was one of the 86 original area codes introduced in 1947.[1] It originally covered most of the populous Golden Horseshoe region in southern Ontario, from Colborne to Niagara Falls to Kitchener-Waterloo. (The rest of Ontario was served by 613.) Toronto numbers, originally six digits (2L+4N) with named exchanges, were lengthened to seven (2L+5N) in the 1950s to accommodate direct distance dialling.[2]

The 416 area code has been split twice. The western portion of 416 (including Kitchener) became area code 519 in 1953. In 1993 the remaining portion of 416 (except Metro Toronto) became area code 905, leaving 416 as just the six Toronto boroughs (City of Toronto, York, East York, North York, Etobicoke, Scarborough). With the merger of historical exchanges Agincourt, Don Mills, Islington, New Toronto, Scarborough, West Hill, Weston, and Willowdale into the Toronto exchange in 1977,[3] and the consolidation of Metro Toronto into the "megacity" of Toronto in 1998, 416 became the only Canadian area code to serve just one rate centre and just one city.

The 1993 split had been intended as a long-term solution for Canada's largest toll-free calling zone. Within five years, 416 was once again close to exhaustion due to Toronto's rapid growth and inefficient number allocation (with no number pooling in Canada, each CLEC is assigned 10,000-number blocks). The issue was exacerbated at the time by a proliferation of cell phones, pagers and fax machines. Splitting Toronto between two area codes was avoided because of the area's high population density and lack of a suitable boundary along which to split. Telephone companies wanted to avoid the burden of changing existing numbers, which would have required en masse reprogramming of cellular telephones.

On 5 March 2001, 416 was overlaid with area code 647, Canada's first overlay code. The implementation of 647 made ten-digit dialling mandatory in Toronto. This same overlay approach was repeated with all subsequently-created Canadian area codes, eventually breaking seven-digit local calling in most of the nation. As inefficient number allocation practices were never fixed, within a decade 647 was close to exhaustion. A new overlay area code 437 commenced operation on March 25, 2013.[4][5] While this effectively allocates 23 million numbers to one city of 2.5 million people, an fourth area code (387) has been reserved for Toronto's future use.[4]

Local calling area[edit]

As of 2013, the following points in area code 905 are a local call to +1-416 Toronto: Ajax-Pickering, Aurora, Beeton, Bethesda, Bolton, Brampton, Caledon East, Campbellville, Castlemore, Claremont, Clarkson, Cooksville, Georgetown, Gormley, King City, Kleinburg, Malton, Maple, Markham, Milton, Nobleton, Oak Ridges, Oakville, Palgrave, Port Credit, Richmond Hill, Schomberg, Snelgrove, South Pickering, Stouffville, Streetsville, Thornhill, Tottenham, Unionville, Uxbridge, Victoria and Woodbridge. Caledon in area code 519 is also a local call to Toronto. [6] Many of these suburban areas are long-distance to each other.

416 in popular culture[edit]

Toronto, Ontario

In the Greater Toronto Area, to be a 416er means that one resides in Toronto itself (before 1998, Metro Toronto) while 905ers live in the suburbs outside of the City of Toronto boundaries. The term the 416 is also used to describe the area within Toronto proper, while the suburbs are referred to as the 905 or the 905 belt (in this use the term does not include the more distant parts of area code 905, such as Niagara Falls).

The 1-647 area code does not carry the same strong geographic associations as it disproportionately contains nomadic services (such as mobile telephones and voice over IP); an incumbent Bell land line is hard-wired to a specific location in area 416, postal code M. Some have paid a premium for a true 1-416 number as the code gives the appearance of a local, long-established business instead of a new entrant.[7][8]

On Mar 17, 1966, The Munsters episode "A Visit from Johann" depicted a person-to-person call to a Happy Valley Lodge in the 416 area code.[9] A hamlet of Happy Valley exists in King Township, part of the 416 area code at the time. Happy Valley, part of York Region, is now in 905.

In 1994, food delivery chain Pizza Pizza obtained a Canadian registered trademark on its Toronto +1-416 telephone number, 967-1111™, which had featured in distinctive radio advertising jingles since the 1970s.[10]

Toronto rapper Maestro rendered homage to the area code in his 1998 song "416/905 (TO Party Anthem)". Rapper Aubrey Drake Graham, also known as Drake, has a tattoo of the number on his rib to symbolize his Toronto birthplace.[11] Drake has also announced that his fourth album will be titled "Views from the 6", referring to the 416 area code.[12]

Central office codes[edit]

416: 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 291 292 293 294 295 296 297 298 299 300 301 302 303 304 305 306 307 308 309 312 313 314 315 316 317 318 319 320 321 322 323 324 325 326 327 328 329 330 331 332 333 334 335 336 337 338 339 340 341 342 343 344 345 346 347 348 349 350 351 352 353 354 355 356 357 358 359 360 361 362 363 364 365 366 367 368 369 370 371 372 373 374 375 376 377 378 379 380 381 382 383 384 385 386 388 389 390 391 392 393 394 395 396 397 398 399 400 401 402 403 404 405 406 407 408 409 410 413 414 415 417 418 419 420 421 422 423 424 425 426 427 428 429 430 431 432 433 434 435 436 438 439 440 441 442 443 444 445 446 447 448 449 450 451 452 453 454 455 456 457 458 459 460 461 462 463 464 465 466 467 468 469 470 471 472 473 475 476 478 479 480 481 482 483 484 485 486 487 488 489 490 491 492 493 494 495 496 497 498 499 500 501 502 503 504 505 506 507 508 509 510 512 513 514 515 516 517 518 519 553 556 561 583 585 586 587 588 589 590 591 592 593 594 595 596 597 598 599 600 601 602 603 604 605 606 607 608 609 612 613 614 615 616 617 618 619 620 621 622 623 624 625 626 627 628 629 630 631 632 633 634 635 636 637 638 640 641 642 643 644 645 646 648 649 650 651 652 653 654 655 656 657 658 659 660 661 662 663 664 665 666 667 668 669 670 671 673 674 675 676 677 678 679 680 681 682 683 684 685 686 687 688 689 690 691 692 693 694 695 696 697 698 699 700 701 702 703 704 705 706 707 708 709 710 712 713 714 715 716 717 718 719 720 721 722 723 724 725 726 727 728 729 730 731 732 733 734 735 736 737 738 739 740 741 742 743 744 745 746 747 748 749 750 751 752 753 754 755 756 757 758 759 760 761 762 763 764 765 766 767 768 769 770 771 772 773 774 775 776 777 778 779 780 781 782 783 784 785 786 787 788 789 790 791 792 793 794 795 796 797 798 799 800 801 802 803 804 805 806 807 808 809 812 813 814 815 816 817 818 819 820 821 822 823 824 825 826 827 828 829 830 831 832 833 834 835 836 837 838 839 840 841 842 843 844 845 846 847 848 849 850 852 853 854 855 856 857 858 859 860 861 862 863 864 865 866 867 868 869 870 871 872 873 874 875 876 877 878 879 880 881 882 883 884 885 886 887 888 889 890 891 892 893 894 895 896 897 898 899 900 901 902 903 904 906 907 908 909 910 912 913 914 915 916 917 918 919 920 921 922 923 924 925 926 927 928 929 930 931 932 933 934 935 936 937 938 939 940 941 943 944 945 946 947 948 949 951 952 953 954 955 956 957 960 961 962 963 964 965 966 967 968 969 970 971 972 973 974 975 977 978 979 980 981 982 983 984 985 986 987 988 989 990 991 992 993 994 995 996 997 998 999

437: 222 266 333 344 345 400 401 402 403 404 405 406 407 408 409 540 580 588 777 800 826 828 836 886 887 888 889 999

647: 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 244 247 248 252 253 254 255 256 258 259 260 261 262 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 277 278 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 291 292 293 294 295 296 297 298 299 300 302 303 308 309 313 317 318 321 328 329 330 333 338 339 340 341 342 343 344 345 346 347 348 349 350 351 352 360 361 362 367 376 377 378 379 380 381 382 383 384 385 386 388 389 390 391 392 393 400 401 402 403 404 405 406 407 408 409 426 427 428 429 430 435 436 438 439 444 447 448 449 452 453 454 455 456 457 458 459 460 461 462 463 464 465 466 467 468 469 470 471 472 473 476 477 478 479 483 485 486 487 488 489 490 491 492 493 494 495 496 497 498 499 500 501 502 503 504 505 515 516 517 518 519 520 521 522 523 524 525 526 527 528 529 530 531 532 533 534 535 536 537 538 539 542 543 545 546 547 556 557 558 559 560 567 575 580 588 590 591 599 600 601 602 606 607 608 609 618 620 621 622 623 624 625 626 627 628 629 630 631 632 633 634 635 636 637 638 639 648 654 655 656 657 660 666 667 668 669 670 677 678 680 681 682 683 684 686 687 688 689 691 692 693 694 695 696 697 698 699 700 701 702 703 704 705 706 707 708 709 710 712 713 714 716 717 718 719 720 721 722 723 724 725 726 727 728 729 732 733 734 735 736 737 738 739 740 741 742 743 744 745 746 747 748 749 750 751 752 753 754 755 756 757 758 759 760 761 762 763 764 765 766 767 768 769 770 771 772 773 774 775 776 777 778 779 780 781 782 783 784 785 786 787 788 789 790 792 793 794 795 796 797 799 800 801 802 808 812 813 814 815 816 817 818 820 821 822 823 824 825 826 827 828 829 830 831 832 833 834 835 836 837 838 839 845 846 847 848 849 850 852 853 854 855 856 857 858 859 860 861 862 863 864 865 866 867 868 869 870 871 872 873 874 875 876 877 878 879 880 881 882 883 884 885 886 887 888 889 890 891 892 893 894 895 896 897 898 899 907 909 918 919 920 921 922 923 924 925 926 927 928 929 930 931 932 933 936 937 938 939 943 944 945 946 947 948 949 951 952 953 954 955 956 957 960 961 962 963 964 965 966 967 968 969 970 971 972 973 974 975 977 978 979 980 981 982 983 984 985 986 987 988 989 990 991 992 993 994 995 996 997 998 999

NOTE: All central office codes reside within the rate centre of Toronto. In some cases, 416 prefixes are available to wire centres outside Toronto city limits which serve Toronto subscribers (such as MALTON22 in Mississauga, which serves an airport hotel strip in Toronto).

Exchanges[edit]

Toronto's original telephone exchanges were manual; each had an exchange name and a block of four-digit numbers. The "GRover exchange" at Kingston Road and Main Street in East Toronto was the first Canadian dial exchange in 1924. (Montréal got its first dial telephones one year later.)[13] The numbers would be dialled as six digits (2L+4N) so "Grover 1234" (as GRover) was dialled GR-1234 (or 47-1234). Conversion to seven-digit (2L+5N) numbers began in 1951 and continued up to the introduction of direct distance dialling in 1958.

Original Toronto numbers migrated from six-digit (2L+4N) or manual exchanges include:

  • 416-363, 364, 366, 368 (EMpire 3,4,6,8) were originally ADelaide, ELgin, PLaza and WAverly in the Adelaide St (Queen West) area west of downtown. These were the first to be lengthened to 2L+5N in 1951-1953.
  • 416-861 (UNiversity 1) was TRinity exchange in the Adelaide St (Queen West) area west of downtown (lengthened to 2L+5N in 1955).
  • 416-921, 922, 923, 924 (WAlnut 1,2,3,4) were originally RAndolph, KIngsdale, MIdway and PRincess (lengthened to 2L+5N in 1954) in the Annex.
  • 416-691, 694, 699 (OXford 1,4,9) were originally HOward, GRover, OXford (lengthened to 2L+5N in 1955) in East Toronto. These numbers usually relate to the Beaches and Upper Beaches neighbourhoods or to Crescent Town in East York.
  • 416-461, 463, 465, 466 (HOward 1,3,5,6) were originally RIverdale, GErrard, GLadstone, HArgrave east of downtown (lengthened to 2L+5N in 1957).
  • 416-483, 485, 488, 489 (HUdson 3,5,8,9) were originally MOhawk, MAyfair (lengthened to 2L+5N in 1958) and HUdson, HYland (lengthened to 2L+5N in 1953); these served the Eglinton area, then the northernmost point on the TTC subway (1954).
  • 416-782, 783 (RUssell 2,3) were originally ORchard, REdfern (lengthened to 2L+5N in 1958) in the Willowdale/Weston area north of the city.
  • 416-762, 766, 767, 769 (ROger 2,6,7,9) were originally MUrray, ROdney, LYndhurst, JUnction (lengthened to 2L+5N in 1955) in the Runnymede/Toronto Junction area in the west end.
  • 416-531, 532, 533, 534, 535, 536 (LEnnox 1,2,3,4,5,6) were originally MElrose, LAkeside, KEnwood, OLiver, LLoydbrook, LOmbard in the Dufferin Street area west of downtown (lengthened to 2L+5N in 1956).[14]

Additional named exchanges were created (as 2L+5N) in the late 1950s to accommodate expansion into then-growing suburbs such as Don Mills (GArden), Agincourt (AXminster/CYpress), Islington (BElmont/CEdar), New Toronto (CLifford), Scarborough (AMherst, PLymouth), West Hill (ATlantic), Weston (CHerry, MElrose) and Willowdale (BAldwin/ACademy).[15] Exchange names were phased out in 1961-1966 in favour of plain seven-digit numbers.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Ontario area codes: 226, 249, 289, 343, 365, 416, 519, 613, 647, 705, 807, 905
North: 905/289/365
West: 905/289/365 area code 416/647/437 East: 905/289/365
South: Lake Ontario

Coordinates: 43°41′13″N 79°23′35″W / 43.687°N 79.393°W / 43.687; -79.393