With 10 digit dialing the initial 1 is not needed. I suspect it's required to remind the caller that it is long distance and may incur extra charges. Since Bell gouges it's customers for long distance calls, that's probably a good thing.
Which brings me to my rant. The beginning of the end for Bell with me was the constant gouging. Bell always gouged its customers but at least a basic land line was reasonable and necessary (before cell service was widely available.) If anything extra, like long distance, was required you were gouged but at least it could be avoided. (Letters were very popular.)
Slowly, the gouging escalated. Even though costs for everything in the communications sector fall year after year, Bell keeps raising its rates. Even a basic phone is now over $41/mo but that's not the end of it. You get gouged for extra fees that are not divulged until the first bill arrives. Bell just keeps inflating the prices for popular services. Call display is the most notable example. Costs to provide call display are minimal but they keep increasing the price to gouge customers for what many believe is a necessary feature. Then there are long distance charges. Both the basic rates and long distance plans are outrageously priced considering what it costs to provide the service. And what's the "network charge." There's a fraudulent fee if I ever saw one. The $6.00/mo long distance plan I was sold actually cost $9.00 when the network charge was added, despite the fact the salesperson lied when he said there were no extra fees. The same thing happens with internet, wireless phone and TV. Popular features are layered on top of high priced, less popular features that most don't want or need. Want an Apple or Samsung phone? Sorry, that's only available with our most expensive plan. Want that channel you really like? Sorry, it's only available in our most expensive package. The only things you can be sure of with Bell is that prices will go up and deals don't last long. Then there was the time they tried to double my internet price because they lowered to caps to an arbitrarily low figure. I switched the next day and haven't gone back.
Even worse are Bell's sales tactics. Their salespeople lie about charges, lie about service specs and even lie about what service is being offered. I had a salesperson show up at the door and made what sounded like an incredible offer for a Fibe bundle. It turned out that what he claimed was Fibe TV was really satellite, the 50Mbps internet was really 5Mbps ADSL and (after six months) the phone was twice the price of what we already had. It doesn't end there. Think you have a sweetheart grandfathered plan? It won't last long. Bell unilaterally changes features and makes you upgrade to higher priced services to keep the same service. They doubled the per minute rate and call display price for my phone plan and removed the monthly carry over. That made the service next to unusable as I could only make 8 minutes of calls per month. As expected, the price for a usable plan was 50% higher.
I'm proud to announce that as of late last year, we are a 100% Bell free household. That means no more unexpected charges on services, no more unreasonable price increases, no more unilateral removal of features, no more unreasonable charges for things like call display or long distance, no more lies and, best of all, no more gouging.