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The first supplier of telephones to Bell was a company established by Thomas C. Cowherd, in a three-storey brick building in Brantford, Ontario, creating Canada's first telephone factory.
Thomas and James had been good friends of Alexander Graham Bell, providing stovepipe wire with which Bell conducted his early telephone experiments from his father's home in Tutelo Heights, Ontario, and also building some 2,398 telephones to Bell's specifications for the Canadian market until James Cowherd's untimely death from tuberculosis in 1881.
had been known colloquially as "The Bell" or "Bell Telephone".
On March 7, 1968, Canadian federal legislation renamed The Bell Telephone Company of Canada, Ltd. Bell Canada extended lines from Nova Scotia to the foot of the Rocky Mountains in what is now Alberta.
Bell Canada is one of the main assets of BCE Inc., formerly known as Bell Canada Enterprises, Inc.
In addition to the Bell Canada telecommunications properties, BCE also owns Bell Media (which operates mass media properties including the national CTV Television Network) and holds significant interests in the Montreal Canadiens ice hockey club and Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, owner of several Toronto professional sports franchises.
Historically, Bell Canada has been one of Canada's most important and most powerful companies and, in 1975, was listed as the fifth largest in the country.
The company is named after the inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, who also co-founded Bell Telephone Company in Boston, Massachusetts.
Bell acquired interests in all Atlantic companies during the early 1960s, starting with Newfoundland Telephones (which later was organized as New Tel Communications) on July 24, 1962.
In 1879 Bell's father sold his Canadian rights to the National Bell Telephone Company, formed in Boston, Massachusetts earlier that year by the merger of the Bell Telephone Company and the New England Telephone and Telegraph Company, which in 1880 reorganized as the American Bell Telephone Company, initiating the Bell System.
That same year the Canadian division was renamed to "The Bell Telephone Company of Canada Ltd.", eventually to be headed by U. executive Charles Fleetford Sise from Chicago who served as its first general manager.
In the mid-1870s Alexander Graham Bell, who was Scottish-born but lived in Canada, invented an analogue electromagnetic telecommunication device that could simultaneously transmit and receive human speech.
In March 1876 he successfully patented his invention in the United States under the title of "Improvement In Telegraphy" ().
Bell Canada's principal competitors are Rogers Communications in Ontario, Telus and Shaw Communications in Western Canada, and Quebecor (Videotron) and Telus in Quebec.