Toronto area code stereotypes: a guide to the city’s shifting phone-based social hierarchy
Each area code in Toronto comes with its own set of stereotypes that—rightly or wrongly—circulate with remarkable persistence. When Toronto and the rest of the GTA each get a new area code in March (437 and 365, respectively), the trash-talk hierarchy will only get more baroque. As Maestro has revealed no plans for a “416/647/437/905/289/365 (T.O. Party Anthem),” we offer this handy primer on phone-based bigotry.
Coverage: One of the first area codes in North America, dating back to 1947. It serves Toronto proper.
Archetype: Phone snobs who look down on people without a “true” Toronto number, 416ers are the most likely to use 905 as an adjective.
Coverage: Introduced in 2001 to cover the glut of new phones in central Toronto, 647 forced residents to dial 10 digits when making a call.
Archetype: Johnny-come-latelies who have either moved to T.O. in the past decade or switched to a cell-only lifestyle. Cooler than 905ers but will forever reside in the 416’s shadow. If 416 is Beyoncé, 647 is Kelly Rowland.
Coverage: Toronto proper will get its third area code beginning March 25—though there are still some 416 and 647 phone numbers left (so if you’re thinking of getting a new phone, act fast).
Archetype: Newcomers hoping to ingratiate themselves with 416ers over their shared first digit.
Coverage: Introduced in 1993, when 416 numbers ran low, 905 covers the half-doughnut around Toronto.
Archetype: Often characterized as the Jersey of Toronto by 416ers, the 905 is the butt of more jokes than all the others combined. 519ers think of the region as the bit of the 401 that has to be endured when driving into the city. The upside for 905ers is that, with the introduction of 365, they’ll have not one, but two area codes to look down on.
Coverage: The 905’s baby sibling was introduced in 2001—the first time suburban numbers ran out—and covers such cities as Aurora, Ajax-Pickering, Brampton and Hamilton.
Archetype: It must be sad to know that even the 905 won’t have you.
Coverage: The new GTA code comes into effect on March 25, making it the new kid in town (or, more accurately, just outside of town).
Archetype: Finally, the 289 is not the bottom of the barrel.
Coverage: Exurbs like Caledon and Cambridge, as well as Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Stratford and Windsor.
Archetype: Can see the Green Belt from their living room windows. Probably packing a GO Train schedule and farmers’ almanac.
Coverage: Introduced to cover mainly southwestern Ontario when 519 numbers dwindled. Areas include Chatham, Essex, Guelph, Owen Sound, Sarnia and Windsor.
Archetype: Former 416ers who—sick of living in closet-sized apartments, but unwilling to be caught dead in the “burb” burbs—leapfrogged the 905 to pursue back-to-the-land fantasies in the 519.
The 387 and the 742
Coverage: The area codes reserved for Toronto and the GTA for when no more 437 and 365 numbers remain.
Archetype: Tough to say—most users are currently in elementary school (but future 742ers will likely be the plebs who can’t afford teleportation or holographic messaging).