Would you rather spend your bathroom visit gazing at a ceiling bristling with rubber duckies, or look at Pac-Man-themed graffiti while avoiding eye contact at the urinals?
Just where is the best porcelain throne in Canada? You can help decide.
Voting is open in the 2019 edition of Cintas Canada’s Best Restroom Contest. Five finalists from businesses across the country are battling for the bragging rights of bathroom style.
While a public washroom is, to many, a place people aim to get in and get out of as soon as they can, these businesses have not skipped over this essential room in their design plans.
The bathrooms are judged on five criteria: cleanliness, visual appeal, unique design elements, functionality and innovation.
“We’ve had a wide variety of finalists enter in the contest over the years, including this year,” said Candice Raynsford, marketing manager of Cintas Canada, adding that one of the finalists is a gas station bathroom.
The Shell on Beaverhill Rd., in Lac la Biche, Alta., offers a more high-end pit stop experience than most gas stations. Travellers hoping to top up their car’s tank and unload their own will step into a “modern, rustic atmosphere,” in that bathroom, Raynsford says, where “warm wood tones (are) complemented by shining chandeliers and wall sconces.” The floors, walls, and mirror frames are all tiled in geometric wood patterns.
What sets these loos apart from the losers?
“They’re putting in lots of décor, they’re putting in fine details,” Raynsford said. “The colours, the schemes, the inspiration behind it, some of them even hire high-end designers to design the washroom -- (these businesses) really are making an investment to show their customers that they’re willing to go the extra mile for them.”
Probably the most eye-catching on the list is the setup at the Laurence and Chico Café in Vancouver, B.C. The colourful café was designed by Laurence Li and Chico Wang, and is a jackpot of Instagram ready backgrounds. The washrooms are no exception. Each one is its own uniquely themed world. One mirrored bathroom features a ceiling of glowing paper mâché flowers, while the one beside it is decked out in all yellow, with a gaggle of actual rubber duckies staring down at you from above.
Vancouver has a second finalist in Bauhaus Restaurant’s bathroom. Raynsford praised its “white walls and original artwork inspired by the Bauhaus movement, which combines Pac-Man, fundamental shapes, graffiti and quotes by the founder of the Bauhaus look.”
Toronto and Quebec City have one finalist apiece.
The Cluny Bistro’s bathroom in Toronto’s Distillery District features wooden stall doors with frosted glass panels, a richly patterned tile floor and marble counters.
The washroom at Cosmos Café, near the St. Lawrence river, brings a modern edge to the appeal of natural shapes, with sinks made of rock, a urinal shaped like a sleek, pointed egg, wall sconces that give off just four thin beams of light, and ‘unique one-way mirrored fish tanks,” according to the description on the contest’s website.
Cintas, which provides businesses with things like restroom supplies, logo mats and corporate identity programs, has run the contest since 2010.
Last year St. Albert Honda, a car dealership north of Edmonton, took the top prize with a bathroom adorned in dynamic red, black and white stripes.
“The purpose of the contest is to remind businesses of the importance of providing a clean and well-stocked washroom and the impact it has on their ability to attract and retain customers,” said Raynsford.
One winner will receive $2,500 in facility services for their restrooms from Cintas, as well as an eternal spot in the bathroom hall of fame.
The results will be entirely decided by the public vote. According to the website, voting ends after today, so if you have important opinions about restroom design, this is your chance to make it known.