Party Lines!
Rural Companies!
On-line Museum!

Recommend Me! Suggest This Page To A Friend!

The History of the Telephone on Prince Edward Island

Telephone Co. of P.E.I.
The telephone has helped unify people and communities for over 100 years on Prince Edward Island. Today, the telephone has become an integral part of personal life and of business, providing voice, data, and cell communications across the Island, and around the world.

On this page, you will find a history of telephone communication on Prince Edward Island, and notes and articles pertaining to the telephone on P.E.I. I will be adding more as information of interest is gathered. This page is being updated frequently - the following are some of the recently updated items:

Updated!!Daily/Weekly - Our Facebook Page!

Daily/Weekly - Details of the NEW UK Strowger Demo Switch and C*Net VOIP Project!

Mar 31 2007 - Details of the Strowger Demo Switch Project!

New!Weekly - The physical (as opposed to virtual) Telephone Museum of P.E.I.!

Check out our Telephone Documents and Links on our Telephone Links Page!


Telephone Collector's International,

Antique Telephone Collector's
Association #4619

I would be interested in posting photos of P.E.I. telephone operators and exchanges on the page, as well as any further information on the history of the telephone on Prince Edward Island. If you are an ex-operator or lineman who would like to share your stories, I would like to hear from you! If you have a directory from the early years while the company was still the "Telephone Company of Prince Edward Island", please let me know if you could provide a photocopy, so that a transcription could be provided covering that era. On a number of occasions, there has been confusion between myself and another Dave Hunter who is retired Island Tel, and who lives in Kensington, PEI. We are not one and the same, but due to a large cooincidence, we both have the same name, and share an common interest in telephones! I have never worked for Island Tel/Aliant, but have collected phones for many years. I would like some day to have the opportunity to meet "the other" Dave - it is quite a cooincidence, and it has caused quite a bit of confusion over the history of this page, as one would naturally make the assumption we are the same person.

Obituary: Peacefully at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Tuesday May 20, 2008 of Walter C. Auld of Charlottetown and Stanhope, age 90 years. Beloved husband of Marion (nee Thompson). Father of Gerry (predeceased) (Audrey), Joan Auld (Keith Pigot), James (Donna Read) Auld. Grandfather of Jodi Lynn (John Cheeseman), Tami Jo (Patrick MacFadyen), Meghan (Jason) Osborne, Ryan Auld, Pamela Ferguson (Dan) Kane, and Glen (Gina) Ferguson. Great grandfather of Bracken, Laird, Simon and Rachel. Brother of the late Dr. Benson Auld (Alice).

Walter was a valued employee of the Island Telephone Company from 1936 till 1980. Through the years, he advanced through the company hierarchy to executive vice-president, and retired January 1, 1980

He wrote two books, "Voices of the Island" - a history of Island Tel, and "For Auld Times Sake", a book of his life memoirs, much of which covers his time at Island Tel.

He will be missed by all who had occasion to meet him.

Resting at MacLean Funeral Home Swan Chapel. Funeral Friday from Trinity United Church at 11 a.m. Interment in West Covehead United Church Cemetery. If so desired memorials to Trinity Church Restoration Fund or The Heart and Stroke Foundation would be appreciated. Visiting hours Thursday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Online condolences may be made at

View our historical transcriptions of several early P. E. I. directories. When compared to modern directories, one can appreciate how the Island telephone system has matured over the intervening years into a system second to none, thanks to the dedication of Island Tel and its employees!

[ 1889/90 Telephone Directory ] | [ 1922 Telephone Directory ] | [ 1928 Telephone Directory] | [ 1935 Telephone Directory ]

Looking for a Current Canadian Number? Try Canada411

Please use the top and bottom navigation bars to visit our other phone pages:
Photos of Telephones, Party Line Stories, Aliant Pioneers Information page, Rural Telephone Companies on P.E.I., and "restoration helper" files added to the Links and Related Files Page!

Shelley Garnhum Tasse's grandfather Daniel James Garnhum worked for the Island Tel company his entire career and retired on June 30, 1965. These photos are of him and some of the men he worked with as they were putting in poles. She also has a retirement photo [View]. Shelley would like to find out who the other people are in the photos and if anyone has some info regarding her grandfather. He and her grandmother Rose (Callaghan) lived on Fitzroy St. in Charlottetown. You can contact Shelley at: [email protected]

Links to the Mainland and PEI Innovations:

PEI has had more than its share of firsts in communications technology. These were advances born out of our being an Island and isolated from the mainland of North America. It may have been a small company on the world stage but they were indeed innovators. Every PEI resident should be very proud of the accomplishments of our telephone company in the past and looking towards the future with Bell Aliant.

First of all, we will discuss the earlier telegraphic cables layed to and from P.E.I. They provided the groundwork for the later telephone cables, the first of which was layed in 1910. Later, microwave became the Island's first choice, followed most recently by fibre optic cable:

I am still researching the locations/dates and other information of both submarine cables and microwave on PEI. If anyone has any updates and/or corrections to either our information on cables or to the section on microwave on P.E.I., I would love to hear from you. I would love to have photos to show you of either the Lenkurt 878 system installed in 1970, the Collins system installed in 1958, or a small sample of any of PEI's submarine and overhead cables for a future cable display in our "Telephone Museum of PEI".

P.E.I. Telephone Timeline!

The first telephone service on Prince Edward Island was established in 1884 with the first exchange going into trial operation in Charlottetown on Dec. 20th. In 1885, the venture was incorporated as "The Telephone Company of Prince Edward Island".

This is the beginning of what I hope will become an extensive list of references and links to information on the early Telephone Company of Prince Edward Island, and later, Maritime Telegraph and Telephone, Eastern Telephone and Telegraph, Island Tel, and now Aliant. There were a number of small, privately owned rural companies on the Island which were part of the P.E.I. telephone system in its early days - see the "Rural Companies" page.

Note: Much of the information for the above listing added with the help of an excellent book, "Voices of the Island", by Walter C. Auld, Nimbus Publishing, 1985. Alas, this book is now out of print. Walter, who recently passed away, was an valued employee of the Island Telephone Company from 1936 till 1980. Through the years, he advanced through the company hierarchy to executive vice-president, and retired January 1, 1980. In 1985, he was asked to write the company history, and "Voices of the Island" was the result.

Walter pased away May 20, 2008: AULD - Walter C. of Charlottetown and Stanhope on May 20th at age 90. Husband of Marion (Thompson) Auld: --

This copy was loaned to me by the Abegweit Chapter of Telephone Pioneers of America - my thanks to Holly Laroque, President of the Abegweit Chapter, who has been most helpful. I have since been able to locate my own hard copy of the book through a search on the book search engines. It is a wonderful book, and would be of interest to anyone with an interest in the history of the telephone on P.E.I., or with family members that were employees of the Telephone Co. of P.E.I. or of Island Tel.

Party Lines!
Rural Companies!
On-line Museum!

© Dave Hunter and The Island Register: HTML and Background Graphics

Last Updated: December 18, 2015 3:57 PM
Return to "The Island Register"!