Nunavut Territory in Canada [telecom]

John Levine wrote in "re: Overlays and Dialing Plans":

John Mays [regarding the size of California's old 714, now 760/442] >> Doesn't 907 [Alaska] have every one beat? > 819, which covers most of Quebec and all of Nunavut. > FYI, Nunavut is bigger than Quebec, and Quebec is bigger than Alaska.

Well, 819 has been STRICTLY Quebec since 1998.

In Fall 1997:

the eastern and northern Arctic parts of Canada's Northwest Territories which had shared from Quebec's 819 ...

and Canada's Yukon Territory and the southern/western parts of Canada's Northwest Territories which had been shared from Alberta's 403, all changed, splitting from 403 and 819, into a new 867 area code.

There was only ONE NNX code which existed in both 403 and in 819 and also in the northern territories under both NPAs but in different locations:

403-979 (at the time) Inuvik NT 819-979 (at the time) Iqaluit NT (once known as Frobisher Bay NT)

At the time permissive dialing began for the split (21-October-1997), and continuing into and following mandatory dialing with NPA 867 (26-Apr-1998) and afterwards), Iqaluit NT simply changed to 867-979. But Inuvik NT changed from 403-979 to 867-777. Also, Iunvik NT could NOT be temporarily dialed as 403-777, since that c.o.code was/is assigned in Calgary AB.

So, during the permissive dialing period, Inuvik NT could still continue be dialed (until mandatory dialing) as 403-979-xxxx (locally as 979-xxxx) as well as 867-777-xxxx (locally as 777-xxxx), the latter becoming the only method when mandatory dialing of 867 kicked in.

On 01-April-1999, Nunavut Territory was officially created, carved out of the Northwest Territories. The territorial capital is Iqaluit (once known as Frobisher Bay), which was one of the two northern territory locations which had a 979 c.o.code. Iqaluit retained 979 as mentioned above, under NPA 867 since it was known that it would be the territorial capital of Nunavut Territory.

The _OLD_ 819 parts of the NWT are not "identical" with Nunavut, nor are the _OLD_ 403 parts of the NWT "identical" with the post-Nunavut NWT. But there is a "rough similarity" of coverage of Nunavut w-r-t the old

819 in the eastern and Arctic NWT, and the coverage of post-Nunavut NWT w-r-t the old 403 in the western and southern (pre-Nunavut) NWT.

The reason for having both 403 and 819 to serve parts of the NWT has to do with the history of the telcos involved in first providing service to Arctic Canada.

CNCP (the railway/telegraph entity of Canadian National and Canadian Pacific) worked closely with AGT (Alberta Government Telephones, now Telus) to extend telephone service to Yukon and that part of the NWT that was to the south-and-west. This dates back to the 1950s and 60s era. Later, during the 1960s and 70s, Bell Canada began to build out its Quebec (and Ottawa ON toll operator services) into the eastern and Arctic parts of the NWT. Thus, an Alberta NPA (403) for Yukon and that part of the NWT which was built-out from Alberta, and a Quebec NPA (819) for that part of the NWT (now mostly Nunavut) which was built-out from Quebec.

In the late 1980s, CNCP wanted to also become a competitive long-distance provider, competiting against the TCTS/Telecom Canada consortium of dominant provincial telcos' nationwide telephone network. Afterall, CNCP was the major railway consortium and the telegraph provider for just about all of Canada.

But the CRTC (Federal regulatory) told CNCP that they had to divest themselves of their local (ILEC) telephone operations -- NorthwesTel in Yukon and western/southtern NWT (and also the northern edge of BC), and also Terra Nova Telephone which operated in parts of Newfoundland/ Labrador (but did _NOT_ compete with partially Bell-held Newfoundland Tel.

Note that CNCP-held Terra Nova Tel and partially Bell-held Newfoundland Telephone really share the same _NAME_! :) One is in Latin, the other in English! :-)

So, Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE), the corporate entity which owned Bell Canada (most of ON, most of PQ, and the 819 parts of eastern NWT), Telebec (parts of Quebec), Northern Tel (parts of Ontario), and partially held the four Maritime/Atlantic province telcos (NB Tel, Nova Scotia's Maritime Tel and Tel, MT&T-dominated (Prince Edward) Island Tel, and Newfoundland Tel), bought out the two CNCP local telephone operations, NorthwesTel in the Yukon and the 403 (western) parts of the NWT as well as the northern edge of British Columia, and Terra Nova Tel in parts of Newfoundland/Labrador. This took effect in 1988.

Then BCE migrated the 819 eastern/Arctic parts of the NWT from direct (Quebec) Bell Canada operation into the newly BCE-acquired (from CNCP) NorthwesTel. BCE also merged their newly acquired (from CNCP) Terra Nova Tel into partially Bell-held Newfoundland Tel.

And then almost ten years later, it was decided that shared use of 403 and

819 for different parts of the NWT (especially with Nunavut about to become its own political jurisdiction), as well as shared use of 403 from Telus/AGT Alberta by Yukon, was too cumbersome, so the combined 867 NPA was created for all of northern Territorial Canada. Note that the northern edge of British Columbia is still served by BCE-held NorthwesTel, and was part of the old 604 NPA for (at the time) all of British Columbia. In 1996 604 for BC shrunk down to just the southwest corner of mainland BC (which includes the largest CITY of Vancouver), while the new 250 NPA split off for everything else, including Vancouver ISLAND where the capital of the province, Victoria BC is located, as well as the northern edge of BC served by (by then BCE-held) NorthwesTel. 778 overlaid 604 in November 2001, and in 2007/08, 778 expanded to overlay 250, the remainder of the province, so the northern edge of BC is now 250-potentially-overlaid-with- 778.

Anyhow, the 867 NPA which is shared by all three Canadian northern territories, is said to be the largest geographically in the entire NANP, but is one of the smallest in population.


Reply to
Anthony Bellanga
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I did a lot of work for the then major airline in the NWT in the 1980s. It was amusing to look through the thin phone book of the NWT at the various villages. (I removed the word remote from my description as they are all remote.)

Various businesses had listings in each villages phone book, such as Air Canada, government offices and so forth listed all of which had their offices in either Yellowknife or somewhere down south. (I think there was only one city and two towns in the NWT back then.) The regular listings were frequently hard to pick out there were so few amongst the bolded entries. Several villages simply had a listing titled "Chiefs house." amongst all the foreign business listings.

I recall getting one phone call in Edmonton, Alberta from an ex girl friend of my brothers who lived in one of the Arctic coastal communities in the late 1980s, There was so much static, hiss and distorted audio that I had to ask her to repeat herself a few times. I have no idea what links they used to get out. From Yellowiknife, NWT south I would assume microwave back then. But from Yellowknife out to all the other communities? Maybe they did use HF radio.

Side note: My brother was a drywaller who did some work in some of those communities. Many communities were 'dry" or alcohol free. The RCMP would meet all the aircraft, not an onerous task, and temporarily confiscate any alcohol. You could get it back when you left the village.

Additional side note: There was a lot of late night noise in the hotel one Friday evening in winter. It wasn't that big of a problem but I asked the next day at the front desk. Turns out that was the NWT RCMP annual Christmas party held in Yellowknife. Many members would come out from the villages and, shall we say, let off some steam. Not that I begrudged them that. I would hope that they had another Christmas party a few weeks later for all the other RCMP members from the villages also got their turn.


Reply to
Tony Toews [MVP]


I thought it was shut down in the early 80's but Northwest Tel may still have been running their troposcatter system then.


Reply to
Howard Eisenhauer

What technology is NWTel using for all those remote places in the Arctic? Microwave, fiber, satellite? If satellite would the dishes would have to be huge at those latitudes?


Reply to
Tony Toews [MVP]

I believe mostly satellite these days but even that seems to be problematic...

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Reply to
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