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The Vancouver Island Payphone Mapping Project
Payphones Main | Submit | More Payphone Info

What is the project?

The project's purpose is to build a reverse directory of pay telephones in the Vancouver Island (NPA 250) area. All the information gathered is posted here.

Why bother?

That's a question we get asked a lot. Since most payphones are now connected to outgoing-only phone lines, one might wonder what use a list of payphone numbers is. The answer is simple: with a complete payphone directory you can locate calls from payphones with Caller ID just as you already can from residences and businesses. This enables private citizens to identify the locations of prank calls, taxi companies to give their drivers better directions to their fares, private investigators to help catch cheating spouses in the act.

Do you take submissions?

Definitely! Just send email to with the phone number, exact location (including the floor of the building, address, cross streets, if it's in a bank of phones, and so on), and if known, the kind of phone. We will add your submitted payphones to the list soon after they are received!

What areas do you cover?

Right now this list is limited to the Greater Victoria, B.C. area, but we will accept for inclusion any payphone on Vancouver Island or the Gulf Islands, as long as the phone is in the 250 area code. The Victoria part of the list already includes every pay phone in the major malls in town and most outdoor payphones in the downtown core. However we need numbers for payphones inside private buildings, schools, hospitals, CFB Esquimalt, and the Saanich Peninsula and Western Communities.

How do I find out a payphone's number?

In most cases, the number is printed on the instruction card on the phone or on a little phone number card under the handset cradle. However, due to vandalism the number may not be there. If that's the case, you have a few options. You can call a friend with Caller ID from the phone and ask him what number showed up. However this costs a quarter. Or, if you have a PCS cellular phone with Caller ID (our favorite method) you can just phone your cellphone, see what number comes up on the display, and then hang up, getting your quarter back. The third option is to call an ANAC number (Automatic Number Announcement Circuit). BC Tel used to have a nice 3-digit number, 211, for this purpose but that number went out of service in 1997. There are also toll-free ANACs out there but since these go up and down rather frequently we won't post any here. Try asking in alt.2600 or alt.phreaking.

What's a COCOT and how do I identify them?

In our area, simply put, a COCOT is a payphone that is not owned by Telus. They are easily identified: they don't have that nasty bluish-purple Telus marking anywhere on them. Some of them are larger than a regular payphone - the large shiny stainless steel ones with the AT&T logo are easy to spot. Others have a casing that is primarily black - these are Protel COCOTs operated by Paytel Canada Inc. There are no doubt others out there that we haven't discovered yet.

A Nortel Millennium payphone is a newish (1996) offering from Telus. It looks like a COCOT. It acts like a COCOT. But it ain't a COCOT. Millenniums and other payphones owned by Telus that work like COCOTs are sometimes called BOCOTs (BCTel Owned Coin Operated Telephone).

Millenniums have a bluish-green vacuum fluorescent display and a yellow card reader. The Protel Sentinel 9800 COCOT has six function buttons, a card reader and a chunky LCD display. AT&T Canada/Canada Payphone Corp. COCOTs are larger than regular payphones, are mostly brushed stainless steel, and have a very small green vacuum flourescent display. There are pictures to be found behind the "More Payphone Info" link at the top of this page.


Do you take submissions of any other kinds of information?


We would like to build a library of payphone photos on this site to enable us to better identify new and different kinds of payphones. All we ask is that the pictures not be stolen from another site. And yes, like IIRG, we do accept photos of payphones that happen to be being used by naked women (grin).

If there is enough demand, we may also start a database of payphones elsewhere in Canada and worldwide.

And, any service manuals or hacking experiences with payphones of all kinds is more than welcome. If you're an insider or have come across something "at a garage sale", (we don't encourage dumpster diving, it's illegal and messy) we would probably pay real money for a complete, original service manual for a COCOT, Millennium payphone, or switching hardware. Email us with a proposal!

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