Direct Distance Dialling Arrives in Western Canada - discoverAPEGA

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Glenbow Archives IP-14a-9017


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Red Deer, AB, Canada

Direct Distance Dialling Arrives in Western Canada

It used to be that a telephone operator had to connect longdistance calls. But that began to change in Alberta in 1961, when Alberta Government Telephones introduced automated direct distance dialling in Red Deer.

It was a first in Western Canada.

Over the years, Alberta’s telecommunications companiesand the engineers who’ve worked for themhave been at the forefront of technology development in the province.

Another milestone came in 1982, when Canada’s first cellular phone system was introduced to serve Alberta’s resource industries.


E.J.M. Crawley, P.Eng., a communications engineer with Rogers Majestic Electronics in Calgary, places a call from a car in 1955. The radio telephone call was made using the new Alberta Government Telephones mobile phone system.

Glenbow Archives NA-5600-7156a


Telephone operatorslike the women shown here working in Devon in 1950were needed to connect calls in Alberta. The change away from manual connections for long distance calls began after Alberta Government Telephones introduced direct distance dialling in Red Deer in 1961.

Glenbow Archives IP-14a-9017