Toilets: Talk of the Town


The latest buzz around Calgary this week surrounds the lack of public washrooms downtown. reports that in an attempt to relieve this going concern, “The City of Calgary will set up a number of portable toilets in the downtown core this summer while staff come up with a longer term solution to the lack of public privies.”

The City had been looking into the possibility of purchasing four fully automatic toilet units. These self-sanitizing, fully automatic marvels of industrial design, monitor the time a user is in the bathroom in an effort to prevent criminals from executing a variety of nefarious deeds that take less than ten minutes to commit. Public p-pods like these ones have been installed around the world, including this one outside City Hall in Philadelphia: (photo: Wikipedia, Bruce Anderson).

self-cleaning fully automatic!

In West London and Belfast, pop-up urination stations have been installed on city streets where inebriated late-night revelers most frequently tend to stumble around. The City of Calgary has dumped talks for these upscale bathroom plans due to costs involved.

We previously published our thoughts on the state of downtown Calgary’s tourist maps. Perhaps a good question to ask is not, “Where do we get more toilets?” but rather, “Does anyone know where our washrooms are now?” From a design perspective, modernizing Calgary’s way-finding system is not only good for doing your business, it’s good for business in general. Adding icons to existing maps and signs outside public restrooms will certainly make it easier for residents and tourists alike to find their way around town without the fear of lacking fast bathroom access. Australia uses the Internet to help people find relief with an online national public toilet map.

Before we go hopping from foot to foot, trying to find more toilets, perhaps it’s a wise choice to take a public washroom inventory and communicate their locations clearly. At that point, if the problem persists let’s solve the bathroom crunch by adding more toilets.