When you’re on the road and you gotta go, any old rest stop will do. We’ve all seen horrifying restrooms that leave you down in the dumps, but every now and then you open the door on a bathroom oasis worthy of a porcelain throne.
Bad bathrooms deserve to be flushed down the drain, but good bathrooms ought to be celebrated with a little more than toilet humour.
“Public washrooms play an important role for people who are on the go, but this contest proves not all facilities are created equal,” says Candice Raynsford, Marketing Manager for Cintas Canada, which runs the annual Canada’s Best Restroom contest.
This year’s nominees were judged on five criteria: cleanliness, visual appeal, innovation, functionality and unique design elements. Online voting was open to the public June 7 through July 9, and the Borden Park restroom in Edmonton, Alberta was crowned 2021 champion.
“Borden Park prioritized providing a clean and inviting washroom, and the public showed their appreciation by voting them Canada’s Best Restroom,” Raynsford says.
Borden Park’s stylish design features sustainable and durable materials, and a groundswell of local votes led them to victory in 2021. For their efforts, Borden Park will receive $2,500 in Cintas products and services to help maintain their award-winning washrooms.
“We’re pleased to be recognized by Cintas for this incredible distinction,” says Nicole Fraser, General Supervisor of Planning and Monitoring, Infrastructure Operations at the City of Edmonton. “We recognize the need to provide access to safe and clean washrooms to the public. The Borden Park facility goes beyond that by serving as an art excursion surrounded by highly reflective glass, camouflaging the building among the trees.”
In no particular order, here’s the list of 2021 washrooms honoured with a place in the Canada’s Best Restroom Hall of Fame.
Borden Park – Edmonton, Alberta
Edmonton’s Borden Park is filled with art, walking paths, a formal flower garden and sports facilities for tennis, baseball and other sports. When you’re mid-way through your picnic and need to take the kids to the restroom, you’ll get to use Canada’s best! Find it in the Virginia Park neighbourhood next to the North Saskatchewan River near Wayne Gretzky Drive NW.
Surrey Park – Surrey, British Columbia
The safe, secure, durable and cost-effective Surrey Park washroom is designed to fit into a variety of parks around Surrey with a playful, distinct form. Look for them popping up the next time you’re visiting Surrey!
Sweet Market Esso Station – Red Deer, Alberta
In the southern Red Deer neighbourhood of Gasoline Alley lies a gas station like few you’ve seen before. Fuel up your vehicle, feast your eyes on the largest candy store in Western Canada, and then let your jaw drop when you lap in the loo luxury. The chandeliers, embossed ceiling tiles, golden and marble-like finishes will make you think you’re in an Italian villa!
The Rooftop – Calgary, Alberta
This hip Calgary restaurant just opened in July, but its bathrooms are already making a splash! Instead of painting ‘The Alley’ with graffiti-resistant paint to deter writing on the bathroom wall, they’ve decorated the hallways leading to the lavatory with all sorts of colourful tags. Definitely a must-see when you’re in Calgary.
Toronto Zoo – Toronto, Ontario
Lions and tigers and toilets! The sprawling Toronto Zoo was already world class, and now its tundra-themed restroom is in the Best Restroom Hall of Fame. Polar Bear privacy barriers, tiles that glow like icebergs, and door handles shaped like caribou antlers will make you want to visit twice!