Skip to content

Last call: ts'uk̲w'um's only payphone is scheduled for removal

Telus says goodbye one of the lower Sunshine Coast’s few remaining payphones on July 19 

It’s the end of an era in one corner of the lower Sunshine Coast. On July 19, Telus plans to remove the last public payphone in ts'uk̲w'um (formerly Wilson Creek). 

The small telephone booth is currently located next to the entrance of the IGA grocery store in the Wilson Creek Plaza. Attached to it is the required notice from Telus that shares its pending fate. 

Previously, local calls cost 50 cents, and the device accepted nickels, dimes and quarters. But this payphone, like many before it, has seen a steady decline in use over the past several decades. In B.C., Telus Communications’s wireless network reaches more than 99 per cent of the population, a representative told Coast Reporter. The company has also been investing in enhancing service in rural areas, including the Sunshine Coast’s Skookumchuck Narrows and highway corridors.

“After careful consideration, we are removing our last payphone in Wilson Creek, B.C. The payphone is rarely used; in fact, it generated less than $5 worth of phone calls in 2020 and 2021,” Telus’s senior communications manager Chelsey Rajzer told Coast Reporter via email. The company’s statement noted there are other phones in the area that can be used in case of emergency. “As a result, we are confident that removing this payphone will not impact the community. TELUS still has other payphones remaining along the Sunshine Coast.”

For inquiring minds, the first version of a payphone and connection operation on the Sunshine Coast were courtesy of the Gibsons Telephone Exchange housed in the cottage of Harry and Lou Winn, starting around 1911. The first home telephone was located in the doctor’s house (now known as Stonehurst). 

Now the closest payphones are located in Roberts Creek and Sechelt, Rajzer said.

“We are thoughtful about removing payphones and often work closely with local businesses, municipal governments, and the community to ensure there are alternate options within a reasonable distance before a payphone is removed,” the statement reads.

Telus knows payphones hold a lot of nostalgia for many people. In each community the company removes a payphone, Telus donates $1,000 to its TELUS Friendly Future Foundation, a registered charity. The decommissioned payphones can also be repurposed as displays in the community “as an acknowledgement of a shared piece of technology history.

“Any residents who are interested in seeing these payphones showcased as a piece of history in a local museum or community centre can email us at to learn more.”

For now, the future of payphones on the Coast is uncertain. When Coast Reporter picked up the payphone next to the IGA on July 5, there was no dial tone. The line has gone silent.

With files from Bronwyn Beairsto / Coast Reporter