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Montreal Now Has A New Area Code & It Has A Weird Ring To It

What do you think of the new number?📞

Staff Writer
A public phone in Montreal. Right: People ride the metro while looking at their phones.

A public phone in Montreal. Right: People ride the metro while looking at their phones.

First, there was 514, then there was 438. Now, as of Saturday, October 22, a new Montreal area code has entered the ring: 263. This change has been in the works for a while, and here's what it means for Montrealers.

New area codes are implemented by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) when their predictions show that current area codes will run out of numbers, something that isn't uncommon in a growing metropolis.

If you already have a 514 or 438 phone number, the good news is that nothing will change and you don't really need to think about this. But if you're looking for a new Montreal phone number after October 22, you might end up in the 263 rather than the 514.

This iconic Montreal code dates back to 1947, and the more recent but still recognizable 438 code was introduced in 2006. Adding new area codes to the same location is called "overlaying," and it allows the same seven-digit phone numbers to be reused with new area codes, according to the CRTC.

This opens up plenty of new numbers to be used in phones, fax machines and computers. It also means you might have a phone number buddy somewhere in the city, whose primary seven digits are the same as yours, just with a different area code.

There's no arguing that the older area codes have a certain air of coolness, so if you're desperate for a 514 number, you're probably not alone. But Kelly Walsh, program manager for the Canadian Numbering Administrator (CNA), told MTL Blog last year that most new 514 numbers have been snatched up already, hence the need for new area codes.

There's a slim chance some companies might recycle an old 514 number just in time for you to snag it, but Walsh didn't want anyone to get their hopes up. "You could get one, but it's very, very unlikely," Walsh told MTL Blog last year.

For now, new Montrealers (and Montrealers getting new phones) will have to settle for the remaining 438 numbers and accept that 263 is the way of the future.

    Willa Holt
    Staff Writer
    Willa Holt is a Staff Writer for MTL Blog focused on apartments for rent and is based in Montreal, Quebec.
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