Here are the top 5 public restrooms in Canada
Hand carved stone, sculpted bronze, solid hardwood, glass chandeliers, and ambient music -- luxury features one would expect from a well-appointed luxury home. They’re also readily found in the five public washrooms shortlisted to win Canada’s best washroom of 2016.
This year’s list of luxury loos span the country, ranging from a washroom at a 4-star Montreal hotel to a bathroom at a gas station along the Alaskan Highway.
Contest organizers accepted nominations from the public before whittling the list down to five finalists. Votes for the winner can be cast until Oct. 24.
Alberta is the best represented province this year, with three posh potty nominations. The other two hail from Quebec and Manitoba.
W Montreal – Montreal, Que.
The eye is immediately drawn to the shared sink made of hand-carved stone. Classic faucets cascade water over the hands before falling into a basin lined with large rounded rocks, giving one the sensation of standing before a gentle stream.
No urinal cake smells here. The room is perfumed with the signature W fragrance.
Sauce Italian Kitchen & Market – Calgary, Alta.
The restroom experience at Sauce Italian Kitchen & Market begins with the sculpted bronze handle on the hefty solid wood door at the entrance -- a nice touch that provides a sense of separation from the bustling dining room.
The theme of privacy is continued inside where the stalls are enclosed by proper walls and floor to ceiling frosted white glass doors fitted with polished chrome hardware. This restroom makes use of the best modern touchless water flow fixtures on the toilets and faucets. This vanity has a polished chrome base and tall mirrors -- extra points for the bespoke ledge to set a purse or bag.
Assiniboine Park Lyric Theatre – Winnipeg, Man.
Patronizing an outdoor theatre shouldn’t mean holding one’s breath inside a port-o-potty transplanted from a construction site when nature calls. A message well received by the Assiniboine Park Lyric Theatre.
The designers have accomplished a tasteful modern retrofit of a shipping container. The industrial style adds a pleasing juxtaposition to the natural beauty of the park. Clean, simple, and dressed in primary colours -- it’s little surprise the design received the 2014 AZ Award for Design Excellence and the 2014 Prairie Design Award of Excellence.
Whitecourt Esso Super Station – Whitecourt, Atla.
Use a gas station bathroom along an Alberta highway? Sorry, I didn’t hear the suggestion over my incredulous guffaw.
In an incredible affront to the generic rest stops of the world, this artistic modern design makes use of decorative overhead lighting to create a classically timeless look. Decorative subway and mosaic tiles and the combination of straight and curved lines on the countertop add a final touch of class.
East Village – Calgary, Alta.
The urban murals on the exterior betray the symphony of technology inside. Installed by the Calgary Municipal Land Corp in 2011 at the cost of $125,000 -- these self-cleaning public toilets offer touchless flushing, hand washing and drying. The pièces de résistance is the toilet, which automatically emerges from inside the wall. There is music when the door is closed and locked, but don’t expect to loiter -- the doors automatically open after 10 minutes.
Photos courtesy of Cintas Canada, Ltd.