The fact Thunder Bay's new courthouse does not have a pay phone troubles local lawyer Mason Millar.

"My first thought is just how much it infringes on people's rights in basically assuming they have enough money for a cell phone. They're obviously here because they're having some problems," said Millar.

Millar said phones are a necessary service because people have important decisions to make while they're at court. 

“Not being able to have easy access to a telephone is quite bizarre really," said Millar. 

Tbaytel manager of Corporate Brand Communication Katie Crowe said the court house is wired for three pay phones.

But she said there was a problem installing them, because the thin granite walls can not support the weight of the units. 

Katie Crowe

Tbaytel manager Katie Crowe says the company wants to install the phones, but the walls are made of thin granite and cannot support the phone unit's weight. (Supplied)

"We were concerned that there was a possibility of the phone ripping out of the granite, or people leaning on the pay stations and the phones actually coming away from the wall,” Crowe said.

A spokesperson for Infrastructure Ontario, the Crown corporation that owns the courthouse, said it's working on a solution so payphones can be installed.

Public place = public phone?

But, even for those who do have cell phones, not having a pay phone handy can still be a problem.

Empty phone wall in Thunder Bay court house

A spokesperson for Tbaytel said it had to halt the installation of pay phones in the court house because the granite walls would not support the phones. (Heather Kitching/CBC)

"Your cell phone doesn't always work in a lot of places in here,” said Thunder Bay resident Debbie Dolph.

"If something happens outside and somebody needs to come in and use a phone, they usually look for public places like this, thinking there would be a phone in here. Hopefully they'll put one in soon," said Dolph.