I have a question about Bell’s buildings

bell_sturb

I was on the 55 bus yesterday when it went past this building on Saint-Urbain. It’s a large and utterly faceless structure behind the older, handsome Bell building on Ontario. I realized I’d been going past it for years and never questioning its necessity, but when I started thinking about it I could bring to mind other Bell installations around town, for example:

bell_monkland

this one, which takes up an entire block of Monkland in NDG and

bell_pine

this one on Pine Avenue. I know there are others but these came to mind.

At one time presumably Bell needed these big buildings for the banks of physical switches that used to be needed for telephone exchanges. But they’re awfully dead zones now in the urban fabric. They’re also incredibly valuable real estate, I’m wondering why Bell is keeping these buildings fallow when I very much doubt they’re needed any more to sustain phone services.

Anyone have any story on this?