The story behind Milton’s loneliest payphone


Published June 14, 2023 at 9:17 am

Like coming across a 1915 Model T Ford or a video rental store stocked with VHS tapes, seeing a Bell payphone in Milton can be a bit of a surprise.

But there still at least one working payphone in town and it’s likely to be there for a very long time.

It all goes back to a decision from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

As the existence of payphones began to sharply decline in the early 2000s, in conjunction with the rising availability and use of mobile phones, the CRTC was worried about some communities losing a reliable source of communication.

The CRTC was primarily concerned with communities that were isolated, those without internet service and First Nations losing their payphones.

In 2002, the CRTC initiated a proceeding to address a number of issues related to access to payphones in Canada.

The Commission noted it was particularly concerned with the impact the removal of the last payphone in a small or rural community may have on that community. As such, the Commission established a notification process for when the last payphone in a community is scheduled for removal.

In 2015 they amended the notification requirement to ensure that it is also triggered for the removal of any payphone in a location that does not have access to mobile wireless service by any carrier.

That obviously doesn’t affect large municipalities like those in Halton, but it’s also the reason you’ll find at least one payphone in every town in the country.

It’s simpler for Bell to keep it running than it is to conduct a public hearing just to remove it.

And if you’re wondering where at least one payphone is in Milton, it’s on the west side of Martin Street, where it ends at Main St., outside Towne Square.

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