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NorthernTel 
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Photo Highlights |
Narrative Highlights |

norpic1.jpg (8512 bytes) Thomas McCamus - "A visionary and co-founder of Temiskaming Telephone Co."

norpic2.jpg (9541 bytes) 1908 - "In an extraordinary expression of confidence Percy Craven was appointed manager of all accounts, superintending of office staff, operators, agencies and the transaction of all business with municipalities and customers." Shown here is Percy Craven (right) and R.R. Woods.

norpic3.jpg (9700 bytes) The Porcupine Telephones Lines Limited was purchased by Northern Telephone in 1928

norpic4.jpg (8599 bytes) Construction crew building line between Kapuskasing - Hearst in 1929

norpic5.jpg (8716 bytes) 1934 - Kirkland Lake Office Building

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June 12, 1937 - Northern Telephone's 1st Annual Picnic, Culver Park. "Every year there was a company picnic and dinner and sometimes at least one punch bowl was surreptitiously spiked, and great efforts made to keep Mr. Craven unaware."


norpic7.jpg (8486 bytes) Female employees in the early years usually worked as operators and clerks. This photograph shows a group of female employees at the New Liskeard Head Office. Back row, from left, are: J. MacDougall, J. Craven, G. Brown, M. Swayne and M. Edwards; middle row, from left, J. Stewart, E. Pringle, A. Moore, L. Melisek and W. Barker; Front row, from left, F. Baker and R. Craven

norpic8.jpg (11776 bytes) "The 30's were demanding times for the men stringing lines through the bush, and installing telephones as fast as the towns grew." Shown here is a Timmins Line Crew from 1937.

norpic9.jpg (10443 bytes) In 1937, Don McKelvie, the future general manager, president and chairman of the company, and son of co-founder Angus McKelvie, joined Northern Telephone. Shown here, from left, are: Alex Brown, Arnold White and Don McKelvie.

norpic10.jpg (9693 bytes) 1940 - Tom McCamus cuts over Magneto to Common Battery at New Liskeard office as co-founder Angus McKelvie looks on.

norpic11.jpg (10923 bytes) At a Timmins Open House in 1955, P. Ryan discusses the growth of Northern Telephone's systems with J. Wilder and Dr. McClinton.

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Cable splicer, Jack Alderdice taking a break in New Liskeard, July of '64


norpic13.jpg (7026 bytes) In March of 1963, Northern Telephone acquired this aircraft. Operating out of Earlton, the 7 passenger aircraft enabled head office personnel to cover the vast areas of Northern Ontario and Northern Quebec to which it provided telephone service

norpic14.jpg (7324 bytes) "By 1964 Northern Telephone was recognized as a major power in the Canadian communications industry." Shown here is the IBM 1440 computer in New Liskeard in 1966.

norpic15.jpg (7247 bytes) "The Cobalt fire of May, 1977 provided Northern Telephone with another experience in quickly restoring communications which may have proven useful when the company faced its great fire a couple of years later"

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Just a month after the Cobalt disaster on June 25, 1977, the company celebrated a more positive event with an open house at the newly finished Northern Telephone Centre at Timmins.


norpic17.jpg (8437 bytes) 1979 - Alex Brown (left) and Norm Currie share conversation at one of the many Northern Telephone functions.

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December 13, 1979 - The New Liskeard Head Office is destroyed by fire, providing some of the most hectic hours in the company's history. This proved to be a time when a number of employees acted on their own initiative and prevented an even greater loss by dealing with the emergency without waiting for orders.

norpic20.jpg (7444 bytes) The New McKelvie Building. "Northern Telephone entered the 80's with a new head office that would have astonished the directors who in 1905 rented their first accommodation above Mr. Abraham's stationary store for $10 a month."

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1981 - Don McKelvie


norpic22.jpg (7495 bytes) Murray W. Cooper began his Northern Telephone career in 1964 as assistant secretary treasurer. After a few senior appointments, he was appointed President and General Manger in 1978, a director in 1982 and then President and Chief Executive Officer in 1983. He lead the company until 1993, and later served as Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors before retiring.

norpic23.jpg (18287 bytes) For an in depth view of the History of Northern Telephone read "Northern Calling, the Northern Telephone Story" by John R. Hunt


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The Temiskaming Telephone Company Limited was incorporated April 5, 1905 in New Liskeard. Originally founded to provide telephone service in New Liskeard and other parts of the Temiskaming District, the company used only its name, usually in a script style, as a means of identification.
 

round.gif (9518 bytes) A new corporate identity, more indicative of the large territory served by the Company came into being in 1928 when the Temiskaming Telephone Company Limited became Northern Telephone Limited. In 1944, a corporate logo depicting a telephone pole and wires against a background of hills and forest, was developed.
 
current.gif (3349 bytes) In 1960, the word "Company" was dropped and a different print style was used on all documents bearing the Northern Telephone Limited name. The corporate logo changed in 1964 to incorporate the stylized "N" and telephone set. The logo is still in use today.
 
 
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Narrative Highlights

1905 - Incorporated on April 5 as the Temiskaming Telephone Company in New Liskeard, Ontario. Thomas McCamus, a co-founder of the Company, is appointed its first President. By the end of the year, there are 125 telephones in service.

1906 - A Bell Telephone Company offer to buy out the Company is turned down by the Board of Directors. Service is extended to Cobalt and the Haileybury Telephone Company is purchased.

1909 - Service is extended north to Englehart and total telephones in service now number 800.

1910 - After only five years in existence, Temiskaming Telephone Company assets amount to $78,700.

1921 - Kirkland Lake and Swastika Telephone system is purchased.

1922 - A disastrous fire destroys one-fourth of the telephone system, including most of Haileybury's plant, all of Charlton's and 30 miles of rural lines.

1925 - Elk Lake and Gowganda Telephone System is purchased. Company assets are now $313,200.

1927 - the Kapuskasing exchange is established.

1928 - More than 1,000 telephones are purchased in the Timmins area from the Porcupine Telephone Lines Company. The Company now has 4,500 telephones in service. The Company is recapitalised and renamed Northern Telephone Company Limited.

1930 - Service is extended to Hearst and Mattice.

1933 - Service is extended to the Matachewan Mining District.

1941 - Kerns Municipal Telephone System is purchased and connected to New Liskeard switchboard.

1949 - The first move west takes place, with the opening of the Atikokan exchange.

1952 - The Company's first dial conversion is completed at the Cobalt exchange.

1956 - Further expansion in the west with the purchase of Red Lake Telephone Company and 52 percent control of Norwesto Communications Company Limited.

1957 - Algoma Central Telephone and a portion of Kenora Telephone is purchased.

1961 - Telephone d'Harricana et Gatineau Ltee. and Telephone Chibougamau Ltee. are purchased. There are now more than 50,000 telephones in service.

1963 - Ansonville and Beaudry join the growing system, followed a year later by the Malartic and Cadillac exchanges of Blais Telephone.

1966 - Bell Canada acquires control of the Company through a share purchase. At the time of the offer, Northern Telephone Limited is the largest independent telephone company in Ontario and its subsidiary, Northern Quebec Telephone Incorporated, is the second largest in Quebec.

1967 - La Sarre Telephone becomes the last major purchase by the Company and this paves the way for the acquisition of the Quebec communications assets of Ontario Northland Telecommunications. The Company is now operating in a 300,000 square mile area from the Ontario-Manitoba border to just north of Lac St. Jean, 150 miles from Quebec City.

1969 - The Company's western assets are sold to Bell Canada.

1971 - The 100,000th telephone is installed as a payphone in the Timmins exchange and the first Direct Distance Dialing project is completed at Val d'Or.

1974 - The 100 per cent dial milestone is reached December 4.

1976 - Northern Quebec Telephone Incorporated is sold to T??ec and the Company consolidates operations in an 83,000 square kilometer area of Northeastern Ontario. Northern Telephone Assets are now more than $63.5 million. The Company begins its 11-year Rural Upgrade Program, designed to upgrade multi-party telephone customers to lines of four or less customers per line.

1979 - The Head Office building in New Liskeard, part of which dated back to the early years of the Company's history, is destroyed by fire on December 14.

1980 - The first large digital switching equipment is installed in Hearst.

1981 - The McKelvie Building, Northern Telephone's new Head Office in New Liskeard, officially opens its doors September 24. It is named after the former President and Chairman of the Board, Donald McKelvie.

1982 - Northern Telephone's list of telephone exchanges grows to 32 with the opening of an exchange at Detour Lake, a gold mining development, northeast of Cochrane.

1983 - Customers can now connect their own telephone equipment to Northern Telephone's network. The Company becomes a subsidiary of BCE Inc.

1984 - By the end of 1984, Northern Telephone has 50,891 telephone numbers in service.

1985 - Northern Telephone Limited marks its 80th year of operation and reaffirms its motto of "Bringing the North Together" by continuing to provide good quality telecommunications service to residents of Northeastern Ontario.

1986 - An 11-year program to upgrade rural telephone lines to four or less customers per line is completed. In all, 3,845 customers receive the upgraded service at a cost of more than $10.8 million. Company assets now amount to more than $72.8 million.

1987 - Northern Telephone Limited and Ontario Northland Telecommunications install modern digital telephone switching equipment in Cobalt, Earlton, Haileybury, Latchford and New Liskeard, at a total cost of $6 million.

1989 - The Company completes its program to modernize all four-digit telephone exchanges with the last such project completed at Abitibi Canyon. The Hearst telephone exchange is converted to digital switching equipment.

1990 - Completion of modernization projects in Kapuskasing and Smooth Rock Falls create the Company's largest geographical area served by digital equipment, stretching from Calstock through to Smooth Rock Falls, and including Calstock, Hearst, Opasatika, Mattice, Kapuskasing, Moonbeam, Fauquier and Smooth Rock Falls.

1992 - A record-setting capital program of $15.6 million goes to upgrading and modernization projects across the Company's serving area. Highlights include the digital conversion of the Kirkland Lake telephone exchange and the final phase of digital conversion in Timmins. By year-end, 86.0 percent of the Company's total installed telephone lines are served by digital switching equipment.

1994 - A company subsidiary, NorTel Mobility, is created to offer cellular telephone service in Northeastern Ontario. Northern Telephone's new regulatory body is the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. By year-end, There are 61,513 total telephone numbers in service.

1995 - Northern Telephone introduces NT.NET providing Local Dial Up Internet Access to Northeastern Ontario. New network features are introduced including Call Display, Call Return and Call Trace.

1995 - Northern Telephone celebrates the 90th anniversary of its incorporation, with the publishing of its own history book and a continuing focus on providing quality telecommunications service to residents of Northeastern Ontario.

1996 - Voice Mail is introduced in Timmins. Digital switching is installed in Swastika. Integrated Voice Messaging Service (IVMS) is launched.

1997 - Northern Telephone's NT.NET joins the national Sympatico? Internet Service. The first authorized Northern Telephone dealer is established at a New Liskeard retail business.

1998 - A Network Support and Maintenance Centre is opened to provide 7 day, 24 hour service for customers. The One Switch transition is completed in Timmins. Northern Telephone launches its new website, providing information and on-line order capabilities.

1999 - Customers in Matheson, Iroquois Falls, Virginiatown, Larder Lake and Opishing all receive digital switching upgrades. Fax to e-mal service and High Speed Internet using ADSL and ATM technology are introduced. The first fibre ring from the Tri-Towns north to Kapuskasing is completed and NorTel Mobility extends cellular service to Larder Lake.

2000 - Northern Telephone embarks on Phase 1 of a $6.4-million program to eliminate customer party lines throughout its serving area. The communities of Calstock, Cobalt, Connaught, Iroquois Falls, Kamiskotia, Kirkland Lake, Larder Lake, Latchford, Moonbeam, Ramore, South Porcupine and Swastika are upgraded to individual line service. Digital switching technology is installed in Elk Lake. NorthernTel sells its Cochrane assets to the Cochrane Public Utilities Commission.

2001 - Party lines are eliminated in Elk Lake, Fauquier, Haileybury, Hearst, Matachewan, New Liskeard and Smooth Rock Falls. Northern Telephone completes their portfolio of IT services with the opening of the Timmins office of Logicon.  Northern Telephone amalgamates with an indirect subsidiary of Bell Canada, public shareholders receive $17.50 per share in cash in exchange for their NorthernTel shares. 

2002 - Northern Telephone enters the long distance market. NorTel Mobility introduces digital technology and Telegr@f, the newest method of cellular communication in the region. A new cellular tower is installed at Lowther.  Bell Canada announces the issue of Canada?s first telecommunications industry income fund, the Bell Nordiq Income Fund, which will acquire and hold 40 % of Northern Telephone ? T??ec Companies, the remaining 60 % being held by Bell Canada.

The upgrade to individual line service in Earlton, Englehart, Matheson, Mattice, Opasatika, Opishing, Abitibi Canyon, Detour Lake, Gowganda, Timmins and Virginiatown, becomes the standard level of service across NorthernTel territory.

2003 - Northern Telephone's name officially changes to NorthernTel and NorTel Mobility changes to NorthernTel Mobility. 
New digital cellular towers are installed at South Porcupine, Kenogamissi, Hearst and Cochrane. The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund commits $5 million and NorthernTel invests a further $3 million to begin a cellular expansion project with NEOnet.

2004 - New digital cellular towers are installed in Timmins to serve the area west of the City as well as the Timmins Regional Airport. 
1x-RTT digital cellular service also comes to Fauquier, Hearst, Kirkland Lake, Kenogami, Kempis Mountain, Fretz Road, Smooth Rock Falls, Cobalt, Gogama, Stetham, the Watershed and the South Wye.
High-speed Internet is introduced in Wyborn and Swastika, Virginiatown, Larder Lake, Kirkland Lake and Englehart enjoy the benefits of enhanced 9-1-1 service.

2005 - NorthernTel celebrates 100 years of service on April 5.
1x-RTT cellular service is extended to Calstock, Elk Lake, Matachewan and Holloway Mine.
Enhanced 9-1-1 service is expanded to include Temiskaming Shores, Hearst, Kapuskasing, Timmins, Iroquois Falls, Black River-Matheson, Fauquier-Strickland and Smooth Rock Falls.
Swastika, Larder Lake and Virginiatown enjoy the benefits of High-speed Internet and Telesat High-speed Internet service is introduced across the region.

2007 – In February 2007, NorthernTel becomes part of the Bell Aliant Regional Communications group, an income trust created in 2006 and controlled by Bell Canada. Bell Aliant is one of North America’s largest regional communications providers and serves customers in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island from its Halifax headquarters

May 1, 2009, a closer link is created with Bell Aliant with the descriptor "a division of Bell Aliant " added to the NorthernTel logo.

 

2014 - November 3, 2014, BCE announced the completion of its privatization of Bell Aliant and the integration of its Atlantic Canada affiliate into BCE's national operations. As a member of Bell Aliant, NorthernTel integrated the BCE family. The mention “a division of Bell Aliant” was removed from the logo at the same time.

 


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