The IEEE, the Engineering Institute of Canada, and the International Union of Radio Science recognize the historic significance and legacy of the Trans-Canada Microwave System – Canada NewsWire

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OTTAWA, ON, June 28, 2022 /CNW Telbec/ – On July 1, 2022, the IEEE, the Engineering Institute of Canada (EIC), and the Canadian National Committee of the International Union of Radio Science (CNC-URSI) will partner with Bell Canada, TELUS, and SaskTel to recognize one of the greatest engineering achievements in Canadian history: the official opening of the Trans-Canada Microwave System on July 1, 1958 and the immense impact that it had on both Canadian society and the Canadian economy.
In 1958, the Trans-Canada Microwave System introduced live network television and direct-dialled long distance telephone service to Canadians from coast to coast. Comprising 139 relay towers spanning more than 6,275 kilometres from Victoria, B.C. to Sydney, NS, it was, when completed, the world’s longest microwave network. Extended and upgraded several times during its four decades of operation, it laid the foundation for most of the telecommunication infrastructure that we rely upon today.
"On July 1, 1958, Canada’s official motto suddenly took on a deeper meaning when the Trans Canada Microwave System was officially opened and Canadians were, for the first time, able to direct dial telephone calls and share television programming a mari usque ad mare – from sea to sea. It brought us together as a nation like few accomplishments before or since."
–  IEEE Canada’s Historian, Prof. David Michelson of the University of British Columbia
All photos courtesy of the Bell Historical Collection.
"As Canada celebrates its 155th birthday, IEEE Canada is proud to partner with EIC, CNC-URSI, Bell, TELUS, and SaskTel to recognize and remember completion of the Trans-Canada Microwave System in 1958. It was arguably the greatest exercise in nation-building that Canada had seen since the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885 and one of the greatest engineering accomplishments in Canadian history."  
–           Robert Anderson, IEEE Canada’s President
"Bell is honoured to partner with the IEEE, EIC, CNC-URSI, TELUS and SaskTel in recognizing the Trans-Canada Microwave System which reached across our vast country connecting Canadians for the first time over 60 years ago.  It was a significant achievement, and since then we’ve been able to connect even more Canadians in communities large and small, and in rural and remote locations across the country. I’m proud that Bell is continuing to advance how Canadians connect with each other and the world with the most advanced communications networks."
–           Stephen Howe, Bell’s Chief Technology and Information Officer
"It makes me proud as a Canadian and an engineer to recognize, along with our partners IEEE, EIC, Bell, CNC-URSI and SaskTel, the history and legacy of the Trans-Canada Microwave System. It had a significant impact on our society at the time connecting Canadians from coast-to-coast, and making Canada among the very first countries in the world to use the telephone on microwaves. It’s a testament to our Canadian innovation that has since continued to evolve, maintaining our global leadership position as having one of the best networks in the world."
–           Ibrahim Gedeon, TELUS’s Chief Technology Officer, and IEEE Fellow
"The Trans-Canada Microwave System was instrumental in connecting Saskatchewan and SaskTel to the rest of the country. SaskTel is honoured to be one of the many partners that celebrate this milestone achievement, and the significance it has in our Canadian history."
–           Daryl Godfrey, SaskTel’s Chief Technology Officer
The recognition will also kick off the Trans-Canada Microwave System History Project, an effort to reach out to the thousands of Canadian engineers with recollections and memorabilia of the system and preserve these in a digital archive to be jointly administered by IEEE Canada and the Canadian National Committee of the International Union of Radio Science (CNC-URSI).
For more information about the Trans-Canada Microwave System and the Trans-Canada Microwave System History Project, please visit ursi/tcms or ieee/tcms.
About IEEE
IEEE is the world’s largest professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity. IEEE and its members inspire a global community through IEEE’s highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities.
The IEEE Milestone program recognizes technological innovation and excellence that have had significant long-term impact and benefits to society. It is administered by the IEEE History Committee on behalf of the IEEE Board of Directors.
About EIC
The Engineering Institute of Canada (EIC) is a federation of fourteen Canadian engineering societies that represents 30,000 Canadian engineers and engineering students. The EIC Landmarks Program recognizes historically significant Canadian engineering projects, structures, and sites. It is administered by the EIC History and Archives Committee on behalf of the EIC Council.
The International Union of Radio Science (Union Radio-Scientifique Internationale or URSI) is a non-governmental and non-profit organisation under the International Council for Science. In addition to stimulating and coordinating international cooperation in research related to electromagnetic waves and their applications, the Canadian National Committee of URSI represents radio science to the general public, and to public and private organizations in Canada.
About Bell
Bell is Canada’s largest communications company, providing advanced broadband wireless, TV, Internet, media and business communication services throughout the country. Founded in Montréal in 1880, Bell is wholly owned by BCE Inc. To learn more, please visit or
Through Bell for Better, we are investing to create a better today and a better tomorrow by supporting the social and economic prosperity of our communities with a commitment to the highest environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards. This includes the Bell Let’s Talk initiative, which promotes Canadian mental health with national awareness and anti-stigma campaigns like Bell Let’s Talk Day and significant Bell funding of community care and access, research and workplace leadership initiatives throughout the country. To learn more, please visit
TELUS (TSX: T) (NYSE: TU) is a dynamic, world-leading communications technology company with $17 billion in annual revenue and 17 million customer connections spanning wireless, data, IP, voice, television, entertainment, video, and security. Our social purpose is to leverage our global-leading technology and compassion to drive social change and enable remarkable human outcomes. Our longstanding commitment to putting our customers first fuels every aspect of our business, making us a distinct leader in customer service excellence and loyalty.  The numerous, sustained accolades TELUS has earned over the years from independent, industry-leading network insight firms showcase the strength and speed of TELUS’ global-leading networks, reinforcing our commitment to provide Canadians with access to superior technology that connects us to the people, resources and information that make our lives better.
TELUS Health is Canada’s leader in digital health technology, improving access to health and wellness services and revolutionizing the flow of health information across the continuum of care. TELUS Agriculture provides innovative digital solutions throughout the agriculture value chain, supporting better food outcomes from improved agri-business data insights and processes. TELUS International (TSX and NYSE: TIXT) is a leading digital customer experience innovator that designs, builds, and delivers next-generation solutions, including AI and content management, for global and disruptive brands across high-growth industry verticals, including tech and games, communications and media, ecommerce and FinTech, healthcare, and travel and hospitality. TELUS and TELUS International operate in 25+ countries around the world.
Driven by our determination and vision to connect all citizens for good, our deeply meaningful and enduring philosophy to give where we live has inspired TELUS, our team members and retirees to contribute more than $900 million and 1.8 million days of service since 2000. This unprecedented generosity and unparalleled volunteerism have made TELUS the most giving company in the world. Together, let’s make the future friendly.
For more information about TELUS, please visit, follow us @TELUSNews on Twitter and @Darren_Entwistle on Instagram.
About SaskTel
SaskTel is the leading Information and Communications Technology (ICT) provider in Saskatchewan, with over $1.3 billion in annual revenue and approximately 1.4 million customer connections including 639,000 wireless accesses, 289,000 wireline network accesses, 289,000 internet accesses, 114,000 maxTV subscribers, and 81,000 security monitoring customers. SaskTel and its wholly-owned subsidiaries offer a wide range of ICT products and services including competitive voice, data and Internet services, wireless data services, maxTV services, data centre services, cloud-based services, security monitoring services, advertising services, and international software and consulting services. SaskTel and its wholly-owned subsidiaries have a workforce of approximately 3,400 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs). Visit SaskTel at
Prof. David G Michelson
IEEE Canada Historian
604 312-5136
[email protected]
Jacqueline Michelis
[email protected]
Chelsey Rajzer
TELUS Public Relations
[email protected]
Lindsay Mazenc
[email protected]
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