Area codes 514 and 438

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Area codes 514 and 438 are the telephone area codes for Montreal and most of its on-island suburbs. They cover Montreal Island, Île Perrot, and Île Bizard in the province of Quebec.

The main area code, 514, was one of the 86 original North American Numbering Plan Areas defined in 1947. It originally covered the entire western half of Quebec, from the American border to the Hudson Strait. This area nominally included several remote areas in the far northern portion of the province which, at the time, didn't have telephone service.

The 514 area code has been split twice; in 1957 to create area code 819 and in 1998 to create area code 450.

History[edit]

Bell exchange, Montréal, late 1890s

Montréal's local calls were originally handled manually by operators; a called party was requested by name before the first (four-digit) local numbers were assigned in July 1881. In 1898, exchange names ("Main", "Westmount", "Uptown" or "East") were added before the number. The initial rotary dial exchange, "LAncaster", was deployed April 25, 1925.[1] Subscribers dialled two letters of an exchange name and four digits (2L+4N), so "LAncaster 1234" became LA-1234 (or 52-1234).[2]

The initial area codes were created in 1947 as routing codes for operator-assisted calls. Québec was split with 418 covering the eastern half of the province, almost as it does today; the rest was 514. The first Bell System direct distance dial call was made in 1951, from Englewood, New Jersey to Alameda, California, using a system based on fixed-length area codes plus seven-digit local numbers. Montréal and Toronto, the largest Canadian cities, were six digits (2L+4N) at the time. Between 1951 and 1958, numbers were lengthened by adding a digit (2L+5N) in preparation for deployment of direct distance dialling.[3] The 514 area code was split in 1957 to create area code 819 for most of western Quebec, from Estrie (Sherbrooke) to the Ontario border, with the then-unserved far northern portion nominally added to area code 418 (and later moved to 819). 514 was reduced to the region surrounding Montreal.

A final boundary change occurred in 1998 when the off-island suburbs (Laval, Montérégie, etc.) became area code 450, which now completely surrounds 514. This left 514 as the Island of Montreal and little else. While intended as a long-term solution to a shortage of available numbers, within less than a decade 514 was close to exhaustion once again due to Montreal's rapid growth and Canada's inefficient system of number allocation. Unlike the United States, Canada does not use number pooling as a relief measure. Every competing carrier is given blocks of 10,000 numbers in every rate centre, resulting in thousands of wasted numbers. The allocation problem was exacerbated by the proliferation of cell phones.

By this time, overlay area codes had become the preferred relief measure in Canada. The 514 area was overlaid with area code 438 on November 4, 2006, making ten-digit dialing mandatory in the Montreal area. Although the number allocation problem has never been addressed, under current projections Montreal will not need another area code until 2025.[4]

Area code 438 was considered for overlaying 450 as well, but a later decision determined that 579 would be the overlay code for that area.[5]

Communities in area code 438/514[edit]

  • Montreal — most of (514)/(438) except as listed below

A few on-island suburbs were never combined into the main Montréal rate centre and therefore have a reduced subset of the Montréal local calling area. In some cases, the corresponding municipality disappeared in the 2002 forced amalgamation but the restricted local calling area remains. These arbitrary boundaries do not necessarily correspond in any way to the original boroughs, the "un île, une ville" municipal amalgamation or the subsequent de-fusion of areas like Westmount. All are in a group of western suburbs known in French as « le West Island » because of their traditionally-close association with the anglophone minority.

  • Île-Perrot(514) 320, 425, 446, 453, 477, 478, 536, 539, 612, 646, 681, 901, 902, (438) 257, 638, 700, 890
  • Lachine(514) 300, 307, 403, 420, 422, 469, 471, 492, 532, 538, 552, 556, 600, 631, 633, 634, 635, 636, 637, 639, 689, 780, 828, (438) 264, 600, 819, 891
  • Pointe-Claire(514) 319, 426, 427, 428, 429, 457, 459, 500, 505, 534, 541, 558, 630, 671, 674, 693, 694, 695, 697, 698, 782, 783, 900, (438) 265, 500, 538, 893
  • Roxboro(514) 309, 421, 472, 491, 533, 542, 545, 613, 615, 628, 676, 683, 684, 685, 752, 763, (438) 894
  • Sainte-Geneviève(514) 305, 308, 479, 535, 547, 551, 565, 620, 624, 626, 675, 682, 696, 700, 784, 785, (438) 818, 895

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Quebec area codes: 418, 438, 450, 514, 579, 581, 819
North: 450, 579
West: 450, 579 514 and 438 East: 450, 579
South: 450, 579

Coordinates: 45°30′N 73°40′W / 45.500°N 73.667°W / 45.500; -73.667