Say bonjour-hi to some new (weird-sounding) digits.
Montreal is almost out of phone numbers, meaning the 514 is soon to be almost fully retired. Alongside the new Montreal area code, 263, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is also introducing two more new codes, both just outside of Montreal.
The first number will serve the area already covered by codes 450 and 579, which includes Montérégie and the off-island suburbs of Montreal. This area will be getting the overlay area code 354. "Overlaying" is the process of adding an area code to a region without affecting existing numbers, so current phone users don't need to worry about replacing their numbers.
The second number, 468, will be overlaid in the region covered by 819 and 873, which comprises southern and western Quebec. This area includes Trois-Rivières, Gatineau and Sherbrooke. None of the specialty codes in these regions will be affected by the new area codes, so 211, 311 and 911 are all staying the same.
According to the CRTC, the 819 area code was introduced in 1957, ten years after the U.S. and Canada standardized their area code system in 1947. The 450 code was created to serve the outskirts of Montreal in 1998, and the additional 579 number was added to this region in 2010 as the amount of available phone numbers began to decline.
The code 873 was only added to the 819 region in 2012, when the CRTC noticed that the area was running out of available phone numbers. Overlaying additional codes is an easy solution in these cases, allowing for easy introduction of new numbers without affecting existing customers.
The new codes may not be what we're used to, but in 10 or 20 years, maybe all the cool Sherbrooke teens will be calling it the 468.
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.