Exploring Edmonton: The Telephone Historical Center

“Answer the phone,” Big Dude shouts. “Quick. It’s ringing over there.”

As little dude looks around, a bit confused, I answer the rotary style phone and have a brief conversation with big dude.

And for an hour that scene repeated itself again and again as we visited the Telephone Historical Centre. We had visited the Centre last year and when big dude asked to go back a few weeks ago, I quickly fit it into our schedule. Located in the historic Prince of Wales Armouries (10440 108 Avenue), the Telephone Historical Centre is a hands-on way to share a little slice of history with your kids.

Big dude could have stayed much longer than an hour.  He loved having the chance to be the telephone operator and had the system figured out within a couple of tries.  The interpreter on site was incredibly helpful and patient as she answered phone call after phone call.

Little dude didn’t really understand what was going on.  He picked up a few phones and hung up quite quickly.  Finally, he held a phone out and asked, “Where are the happy faces? I want to send a message to Auntie.”

As I explained to little dude that these phones didn’t have emojis, I realized that when I was a kid, the idea of video phones was a far-fetched futuristic promise.  Looking at the display of novelty phones, including the one that I purchased during my teen years, it really struck me – the future is here.  My past is part of my boys’ history lesson.

I would definitely recommend making the trip with kids five and older. With admission by donation and free parking, the Telephone Historical Centre is a great chance for kids to use the telephones used by their great-grandparents, grandparents and parents.  The Centre is open Tuesday – Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Lucky for us, The Loyal Edmonton Regiment Museum is also located in the Prince of Wales Armouries. Little dude had seen a glimpse of a display featuring a solider in uniform and he wanted to get a closer look.  We wandered in and both of my dudes were very impressed with the displays featuring different weapons.

Big dude and I were able to have a brief conversation about camouflage, focusing on why a soldier might need an all-white uniform.  After some thought, big dude decided that maybe soldiers need to fight in the snow… to protect Santa Claus.

As we wandered through the space, I had a chance to read a few lines from some of the displays and wished that I had visited the museum when we had studied WWI and WWII in school.  A visit to the museum would be a great way to engage older kids who have studied those units in school.  I can see that as my boys get older (8+) this museum will hold their attention for much longer.  The museum is Open Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and admission is free.

As we were driving away, we passed a previously unexplored playground and spray park (Central McDougall Park – 10919 107 Street) and the boys convinced me to pull over.  As I watched them play, I was already making plans to explore more historical sites, including this one, during the upcoming Historic Festival and Doors Open Edmonton (July 1-8, 2017). Visit both museums, have a picnic and then play away the afternoon – a perfect no-cost outing of learning and fun.

This post is part of a sponsored campaign between Edmonton Mama and the Edmonton District Historical Society, all opinions are our own.  The Edmonton Historical District Society is dedicated to promoting, preserving and celebrating the history of Edmonton and northern Alberta.

This post has been brought to you by a partnership between Edmonton Mama and the Edmonton Historical District Society. All opinions are our own. 






Allison is a mom of two energetic boys.Constantly trying to balance life, often caught between the needs of her boys, financial reality and her own desire for a meaningful career, you'll find her leaning on her village in North Edmonton.Her philosophy of more experiences less stuff is constantly challenged by her kids love of all stuff.