Friday, March 7, 2008

Best bathrooms in Ottawa? How about the worst? Vote now!

The Ottawa Sun reported today on the findings of some website called the Powder Room, which ranked the public restrooms in Ottawa.

This is terrific. So...if you are running around in Ottawa, and desperately have to go to the bathroom, try to hold it until you can get to the Chateau Laurier, who I'm sure would be thrilled to usher you into their luxurious bathroom facilites, at which point you can just go ahead and continue with your shopping.

Wouldn't a better study be to show the worst public restrooms in Ottawa? That way, when you are going to attend a certain location, you will know for a certainty that it's a good idea to go beforehand? I go to the Broadway in Barrhaven a lot, and they usually have quite a good bathroom. However, I was in there the other day and the toilet paper dispenser was broken. So I had to reach inside the mechanism, tearing off one small chunk after another, pants down around my ankles, until after about twelve minutes I had enough paper to actually wipe, at which point my hands were torn and bleeding. A horrible experience, out of character for an otherwise excellent public bathroom. But there are some real dives around town.

I remember in the old days of the Great Canadian Cabin, we would go there every Friday during university. I stopped going, and haven't been back since, largely because of their bathroom. They had this theory, the owners did, that if there was never any toilet paper, and the taps didn't work, that people would eventually stop using the bathroom and they would save lots of money on toilet paper and water. They actually went so far as to hire people off the street to go to the bathroom on the floor of the room before they opened for business every night, just to give everyone an extra incentive never to go in there. There is certainly a chance that their bathrooms have been fixed up since then, but that was always the benchmark of horrible public toilets to me. There are pubs and bars in town that are dives, but there is a certain character to those. Puzzles, The Carleton Tavern, the Dominion - all have a certain amount of character, and a solid vibe. You don't expect them to have spotless cans. But when a bar purports to be something classier and "upscale", whatever that means, it can't have a disgusting can.

Randall Moore has been going on for weeks about the Elmdale Tavern, how they're now hosting plays and have a new bathroom. I make fun of him for it, but that actually does interest me. A new bathroom really means that I am more likely to stop in there the next time I'm in the area for a beer. That's what we really need to know - which bathrooms are terrible, which are good or passable, and which ought to be condemned.


  1. The worst bathroom in Ottawa? The one at the James Street Feed Company is in the running. Though the absolute worst bathroom I've ever seen is the one at the Pembroke Mall, I don't think that's ever been cleaned.

  2. The last time I was in James Street Feed, it was under new ownership, and seemed to be much cleaner. I think it's called the James Street Pub now? I could be wrong...I would have to throw a vote in for the Billings Bridge mall as well as Pembroke - upstairs in the food court, that bathroom is heinous.

  3. Worst has to be Local Heroes Clyde the men's can next to the bar. It's the smell that kills me everytime. I usually try and hold it or use the one by the kitchen.

    And worst women's has to be Barrymore's on a Sunday night.

    The reason I know is because I used to clean the bar with a buddy of mine and that was always a horror show.
    We would flip a quarter for who had to clean it. Usually had used maxi pads & tampons all over the place. The toilet paper dispensers were held together with duct tape. And there was urine and other waste mixed in with the usual floor whisky accumulated during an 80's night.

    Along the same topic: Why don't they have those "ass-gaskets" in more public restrooms in Canada?