Author Topic: Automatic Electric (Canada) History  (Read 3758 times)

Offline AE_Collector

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Re: Automatic Electric (Canada) History
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2016, 01:22:22 PM »
Hey Dave, I just stumbled upon this topic. Great topic, I have saved it my favorites.

I wish I had grabbed a few more pieces of that lead sheathed cable out of the scrap wire bin at work. Of course it was just a small (relatively light weight) example of lead cable when I grabbed it thinking of your wire display case. It wasnt until later when I opened it that I realized the inside was more interesting than the outside. I, like the cable was made in 1957.

As to the eventuality that BCTel owned AE Canada and renamed Microtel, I don't know what the actual reasoning behind it was. BCTel was GTE Canada's largest operating company and the third largest operating company under GTE (including the US). The other Canadian operating company was Quebec Tel. At that time GTE did own 50.1% controlling interest in BCTel. Maybe this was a way for GTE to downsize its ownership of the GTE Canada facilities. This transfered 49.9% of it to the BCTel public shareholders but left GTE with controlling interest. Cash may have flowed to GTE for the 49.9% stake as well.

GTE had been in a divestiture of assets mode for years in order to concentrate on certain areas such as What became Verizon. Years after Microtel was created, BCTel and AGT (Alberta Government Telephones now merged with edmonton Telephones and renamed TELUS) merged in about 1999. GTE maintained their original 50.1% ownership which was now diluted to 26.7% (if my memory is correct) ownership of the new TELUS. Two or three years later they put their shares of TELUS on the market selling their remaining stake off.

As you mentioned, it was renamed AEL Microtel at the time but it wasn't long before the AEL (which was reminiscent of Automatic Electric Limited) was dropped due to some sort of legal problem.

Another large plant built and added to over the same years as the Brickville AE plant was the Lenkurt Electric plant in Burnaby BC, about ten miles from my home. It became a Microtel plant and eventually had other businesses in it once Micritel was shut down. Then ironically BCTel and later renamed TELUS Moved in. It was rental property now, owned by the BCTel/TELUS management pension fund. I worked in that building for years and years both as in house PBX installer/repairman for Microtel (as a BCTel employee though) and later directly as a TELUS employee once TELUS was using it as a compound.

TELUS moved out in about 2012 and it sat empty until last fall when I realized that the wrecking ball was imminent. It is now a flat piece of land awaiting what undoubtably will be hundreds of residential units in Greater Vancouvers virtually out of control real estate market being that it is right on a rapid transit line to downtown Vancouver. The Skytrain tracks built right across the front of the property prevented taking a decent picture of the building(s) in recent years.

Terry
« Last Edit: January 31, 2016, 01:29:44 PM by AE_Collector »

Offline DavePEI

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Re: Automatic Electric (Canada) History
« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2016, 09:04:43 AM »
Now, another Bast from the Past I discovered today. As I have mentioned before, two of the major businesses in my Home town of Brockville, Ontario were GTE/AE Canada, and the Phillips Cable Plant (formerly Phillips Electrical Works). Not only were they major employers, but they were very supportive of education in the town. In the early 70s, I worked with a contractor to install an Type 75 SXS exchange in BCIVS - the switch was donated by AE, along with close to 100 AE 80s and 90s, and the wire and cable was supplied by Phillips. The switch was a system taken as a trade-in from Venezuela, and totally refurbished by the company for the school. Previously the school had only one party line to do all classes. With that as background, here is their sponsorship ad from the 1978 BCIVS yearbook, the Vitannia. The photo, of course, is the Brockville GTE/AE plant on Strowger Blvd.

I had worked in Toronto for a few years, and then returned to Brockville for a while. Did it ever seem strange to me to be back at BCI, but not as a student. For the next month and a half, I spent my days running new trunks and lines, then hooking up phones! We had our breaks in the teacher's lounge. I was sorry when it was done, as I kind of enjoyed the attention of some of the senior girls who had a great time gathering around when I was up on a ladder running cabling through the ceilings! It was a lot of work, as every telephone line in the building had to be replaced and new trunks run. It was the one and only time I ever actually worked in the industry, but it cemented my interest in phones for a lifetime. I do understand why it didn't stay there for too many years - it was in the old guidance office right next to the main office, and it was noisy! They would have been better to locate it in a more remote part of the school, but that was the school's decision. Just a funny thought. I must see if Dad had a copy of the 1976-78 yearbook, and see if there might have been a photo in there of either us, or of the switch when we were installing it. I thought it was more like 1976 when we did it, but my memory had been known to be faulty.
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Offline DavePEI

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Re: Automatic Electric (Canada) History
« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2016, 10:59:14 AM »
Anther sign of the changing times at the GTE/AE plant in Brockville. - from the 1980 BCI Boomerang Reunion Edition book:
« Last Edit: February 25, 2016, 11:08:09 AM by DavePEI »
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Offline DavePEI

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Re: Automatic Electric (Canada) History
« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2016, 11:09:55 AM »
Another ad from the 1980 BCI Boomerang Reunion Edition book, and ad from Phillips Cables commemorationg its early roots before it built the Brockville plant:
The Telephone Museum of Prince Edward Island:
http://www.islandregister.com/phones/museum.html
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