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Canadian Call Posts

Started by starcross, Nov 16, 2013, 05:28 pm

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Nov 16, 2013, 05:28 pm Last Edit: Nov 16, 2013, 05:29 pm by starcross
After reading "Rise and Fall of the Police box" I found that Canada had Call Boxes in use from 1880s to the 1930s. The USA manufacturer Gamewell made Call Boxes and Posts for both Police and the fire service, sometimes together in the same Post.

The difference between the two was that the Pubic didn't seem able to use the Police Posts at all, there were community partners that could sound the alarm with a key, but otherwise it was only for police officers. The fire boxes and posts all had pulls on them to allow the public to sound the alarm and summon the Fire Fighters.

Toronto Police had a system in place in the 1880s, but no real information is available for it. I've tried to find photos and other information but it doesn't seem like there is anything to find. I am not sure when the Call Box system was discontinued and removed.There is a surviving example of a Police Post in the Toronto Police headquarters in their small museum. They have a photo of a Police Post in use in the mid 1920s as well.


The other major city that had these was Montreal, there is small museum in one of the historic Fire station that has many examples of these Call boxes and Posts. They have three Full sized posts, and many of the smaller Boxes that would have attached to walls and utility poles. I was able to take the tour of the museum this summer and learned the system had survived in use into the 1980s.


I've also found some evidence that some other Canadian cities had the Gamewell boxes, but unfortunately no real information.

Still it is nice to know that I can even find Police Boxes close to home and not just 5000Km over the ocean. And yes I've taken measurements and profiles to make digital models. I would probably putty them too for castings, but I'm usually in Montreal in the winter, and Toronto is in a museum proper. Still these are a delightful find in my own backyard that I can actually visit.


We have one box here is Saskatoon thats still on the street. It was converted to a 'history of the box' device. You can open it and hold the phone to your ear where you hear a recording telling you all about the history of that box.


Quote from: rob49152 on Nov 16, 2013, 06:56 pm
We have one box here is Saskatoon that's still on the street.

That is really interesting!
I looked it up and found an Article about it. I really want to hear the recording now.

The type of Box used was like this: