Nfld. & Labrador

Retro British-style phone booths turning heads in Burin

A man in Burin is turning the area's lack of cell service into a boon for tourism by commissioning two old fashioned phone booths for people to use when visiting the community.

Tom Hollett commissioned functional booths to combat area's lack of cell phone service

Tom Hollett commissioned two of these old British-style phone booths to be placed in the old part of the Town of Burin. (Submitted)

A man in Burin is turning the area's lack of cell service into a boon for tourism by commissioning two old fashioned phone booths for people to use when visiting the community.

The iconic red telephone box is still a familiar sight on the streets of the United Kingdom. (Twitter)

Tom Hollett, who owns Jiffy Cabs in St. John's, lives in Burin and has been trying to develop tourism in the area for the last five years.

Part of that is a campaign to transform the older part of the community – where there is no cell reception – into a fun place for people to visit. That's where the idea for the phone booths came in.

"You find a lot of people visiting from away rely on their cell phone, and all of a sudden they have no way to connect with their friends, and believe me that's culture shock to kids this day and age " he told CBC..

"So we looked at some examples on the internet and we came up with the old British-style phone booth. If you look closely you'll see we even have the old crown crest stenciled into it."

The stylized phone booths, designed and built by Isaac McConnell and Kerry Wiscombe, were built in the fashion of the classic red telephone box, and then through cooperation with Bell Aliant were made into functioning public pay phones.

Isaac McConnell and Kerry Wiscombe designed and built two old British-style phone booths to be placed in Burin. Both are fully functional public pay phones. (Submitted)

Besides providing a valuable service to disconnected tourists, Hollett says the booths have also been turning heads.

"It's been funny actually. A car will drive up the road and drive past, then stop, then back up and then everyone will pile out and start taking pictures," he laughed.

"We're just trying to create another tourist destination for Newfoundland and Labrador, and I will. We've got Fogo, and L'Anse aux Meadows and Trinity and Bonavista — well Burin is going to be right up there with them."

About the Author

Geoff Bartlett

Contributor

Geoff Bartlett is an educator and journalist in Corner Brook.

now