When Derritt Mason moved to Little Italy in September, he was twice saddled with three little digits that made him feel like he was not a "real" Torontonian.
The 25-year-old educator with the National Film Board of Canada got stuck with a landline and a cellphone number with the city's 647 area code, the lesser-known companion to Toronto's iconic 416 code.
"I just feel like whoever is giving out cellphones is trying to prevent me from ever feeling like I really belong in Toronto," Mr. Mason says with a laugh.
"The 647 in some strange way is kind of similar to the 905 in that it's somehow not as authentic as a 416 area code."
Area codes might not mean much in another slice of the country, but in the Greater Toronto Area -- a place where area codes serve as a convenient shorthand for the urban/suburban divide and where backroom boys craft election strategies to win over "the 905" or "the 416" -- the three-digit sequence at the start of a phone number carries heavy symbolic weight.
The numbers 905 conjure up images of minivans, soccer fields and sprawl in the towns and cities that encircle the Big Smoke, while the digits 416 invite visions of smug, established urbanites living in the heart of Canada's biggest city.
So what does the relatively new 647 area code symbolize?
Glenn Pilley, the director of the Canadian Numbering Administrator, says the 647 code is only assigned to people who need new telephone numbers.
It is almost always assigned to new cellphones and BlackBerrys, because wireless carries have snapped up most of the exchange codes in 647, he added.
As a result the symbolism of 647 cuts two ways -- its either a badge of cool brandished by people too busy to be tied down to a landline or a three-digit reminder that the user is new to town and thus not a "real" Torontonian.
I wouldn't worry about that, Mr. Mason. Your fixation on such a petty trapping of image shows that you have become a real Torontonian.
Source: National Post