Area code 709

Area code 709 is the telephone area code in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, encompassing the whole province.

While the first telephone system was installed in Newfoundland in 1885, domestic long-distance calls within the Dominion of Newfoundland were first placed on a limited basis in 1921. The first long distance call from Newfoundland to Canada was made on January 10, 1939 using a shortwave radio link operated by the Canadian Marconi Company in Montréal; shortwave radio also carried calls from St. John's to London, England. After confederation with Canada, the first cross-province long distance call, St. John's to Port aux Basques, was placed in 1949.[1]

At the time the original set of 86 three-digit routing codes was implemented for operator-assisted long-distance calling in Canada and the US (Bell System, in 1947) the Newfoundland telephone system was entirely manual. Dial telephones came to St. John's in 1948;[1] confederation with the Dominion of Canada was enacted in 1949. Canada's Atlantic provinces were originally area code 902, which remains in use throughout Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

New Brunswick and Newfoundland were split from 902 to area code 506 in 1955. Newfoundland and Labrador split off as its own area code, 709, in early 1962.[2] Canadian direct distance dial locations came on-line gradually during the next several years, beginning with the largest cities Toronto and Montreal, in 1958. The area codes served mostly for operator routing purposes until customer dialling of long distance calls became commonplace in the 1960s.

The incumbent local exchange carrier in 709 is Bell Aliant, owned by Bell Canada, which was formed in 1999 as a result of a merger that included NewTel Communications (previously Newfoundland Telephone). There had been as many as nine companies in Newfoundland and Labrador up to 1951; NewTel acquired the last independent company in 1988.

Area code 709 is expected to be exhausted by 2024, at which point Newfoundland and Labrador will receive an overlay area code and 10-digit dialing will become necessary in the province. Area code 879 has been reserved as the second code for the purpose of this overlay, although the relief has been deferred indefinitely.[3] For now, this and the three other Canadian area codes, 506, 807 and 867 still use 7-digit dialling and have yet to be overlaid.


See also


Newfoundland and Labrador area codes: 709
North: Country code +299 in Greenland
West: 418/581, 819, 902/782 Area code 709 East: Atlantic Ocean
South: 418/581, country code +508 in Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, Atlantic Ocean
Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island area codes: 782/902
Quebec area codes: 367/418/581, 438/514, 450/579, 819/873
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