TORONTO - Canada may be the birthplace of the BlackBerry and mobile email, and we're among the world's most obsessed users of Facebook, but it hasn't stopped us from engaging in a relatively old-school form of electronic messaging: texting.

In fact, texting on cellphones -- a feature first offered in Canada in 2002 -- is bigger than ever.

According to the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, 56.4 billion texts were sent in Canada in 2010, up 60 per cent from the 35.3 billion sent the previous year.

That's an average of 4.7 billion a month, or 154.5 million a day.

Canadians have more and more digital messaging options nowadays -- including email, social networks and chat programs like Research in Motion's BlackBerry Messenger -- but there's something about texting that's stuck with consumers, said association spokesman Marc Choma.

"I think text messaging has a certain appeal just because it is so instant and so quick and all you have to know is a person's phone number," Choma said.

"If I want to be able to get a hold of my kids there seems to be something innate in young people that they feel compelled to respond to a text message almost instantly. I can try to call, or leave a voice message, or email, but for some reason a text seems to get a much more immediate response."

Of the texts sent in 2010, about 2.3 billion were of the common short code text variety, which are often used to interact with businesses and charities. That was up 36 per cent over 2009.

While year-over-year growth in texting is still very high, the overall rate is slowing, even as more cellphone users are being added each year. There were 1.7 million new mobile customers added in 2010, according to the CWTA.

The number of texts sent in 2009 was up 70 per cent over the previous year, and in 2008 there was an annual increase of 105 per cent.

Choma said he doesn't believe price increases for text messaging are behind the slowing growth in message volume. Bell and Rogers have both announced plans to raise text message pricing by five cents to 20 cents per message.

"I don't think it is (a factor), not when you're looking at a 60 per cent increase in growth in one year," he said.