This photo, taken circa 1915, features operators in the Central Telephone Office. Ann Thompson is pictured on the left.
Their perceived attentiveness as well as the cadence of the female voice was viewed as especially beneficial for the job, and by the beginning of the First World War women dominated the profession and the female telephone operator, known as the “Hello Girl,” became a key cultural symbol of women’s work.
In the 1930s, innovations in telephone technology started to eliminate the need for manual cables, and in 1939 BC Telephone converted to dial telephones and opened their first automatic exchange in 1941. By the 1950s the telephone operator had begun to disappear almost entirely, remaining only as an early important moment in the labour history of women.
Visit the MONOVA website for more information about the history of the North Shore and to plan your visit to MONOVA: Museum of North Vancouver, now open at 115 West Esplanade in The Shipyards.
Currently, MONOVA: Archives of North Vancouver, at 3203 Institute Road in Lynn Valley, is open by appointment only. Contact: email@example.com
Navigate culture on the North Shore by using the North Shore Culture Compass.