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416 phone numbers fetching big bucks

Since last March, Toronto has had a new area code in town, but it’s the old one that still gets all the attention.

The last batch of phone numbers with a 416 area code were handed out in 2006, making the digits a hot commodity.

Starting at $99, websites like 416numbers.com and VIP416numbers.com offer to sell phone numbers starting with 416. Vanity numbers, like 416-888-CHEF, could cost thousands.

The man behind those websites, Georgios Pappas, told the Toronto Star he had sold 416 numbers for as much as $2,000.

Pappas told the Star his clients buy the numbers in part to sound established.

The 416 area code was introduced in 1947 and became a status symbol in 1993 when the 905 area code was created for the outer suburbs around the GTA.

Toronto rapper Drake has increased the profile of “the 416” by shouting out the area code in his songs and even sporting a large 416 tattoo on his side.

In 2001, the 647 area code was introduced to handle the growing demand for phone numbers. There are still more than two million 647 numbers to be assigned.

But the CRTC is already looking ahead. In 2011, the telecommunications regulator set aside 437 and 387 as Toronto’s next area codes.

About 260,000 people have been assigned to 437.

Would you buy a 416 phone number? Tell us why or why not in the comments!