Kenneth Dunstan

Plot Y, Lot 18
Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto

Born and educated in Hamilton, Canada West (Ontario), Dunstan began his working career with a local oil company earning $8 a month. A few years later, the idea of earning $10 a month won him over and Dunstan moved next door to begin working for Hugh C. Baker, an insurance agent and stock broker who had recently developed an insatiable interest in your Alexander Graham Bell’s newest invention, the telephone.
   Soon Baker established the Hamilton District Telephone Company and began offering his new-found customers the choice of telegraph signal boxes or telephones. While most selected the tried-and-true telegraph, enough opted for the new-fangled telephone to force the set-up of a telephone switchboard to handle the various lines. To look after the central exchange, Baker selected his young employee, Kenneth Dunstan. When the exchange opened in March of 1878, Dunstan was in charge thereby making him the first switchboard operator in Canada. He missed out being the first switchboard operator in the world by a single month — the New Haven, Connecticut exchange having gone into operation in February, 1878.
   Dunstan eventually moved to Toronto where, in 1920, he became vice-president of the Bell Telephone Company of Canada and, in 1925, one of its directors. He died on December 30, 1938 at the age of 79.

Mike Filey
Mount Pleasant Cemetery: An Illustrated Guide
Second Edition Revised and Expanded

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