What’s your favourite local loo?
It might seem like a strange question, but the restrooms in five Canadian businesses are finalists in an annual contest to find the country’s best.
Two of the top contenders in this year’s search, put on by restroom supplier Cintas Canada, are located in Vancouver.
Bauhaus Restaurant was named one of Canada’s best 100 places to eat earlier this year.
A few months later, the West Cordova Street spot that specializes in contemporary German cuisine is being recognized for a different feature: its bathrooms.
“Bauhaus Restaurant was inspired by the early 20th-century design movement ‘Bauhaus’ which was famous for its unique approach to architecture and design, where every form had a function,” a statement announcing the finalists said.
“The restaurant’s Berlin street art-inspired washrooms were commissioned by Olliemoonsta, an art duo from Spain with a background in Fine Arts and Graphic Design.”
Its walls include quotes from Bauhaus School founder Walter Gropius, original graphic designs and graffiti that all match the theme.
Also in the top five is Laurence and Chico Cafe, named after designers Laurence Li and Chico Wang.
The coffee shop on Bute Street is described by Wang as a “surreal opportunity…through a space that combines elements of design, furniture and home décor with a culinary experience.”
Those behind the Best Restroom contest praise its whimsical wallpapers, tiles and furnishings that replicate the clothing designers’ signature prints.
“You can Instagram every corner of the café, including the washrooms, which offer customers an escape from reality,” the statement issued by Cintas Canada Tuesday says.
“One of the washrooms is rubber ducky themed where if you look up, you’ll see the ceiling adorned with them. Another is a floral-themed washroom featuring paper mache flowers.”
Heading east, the next restaurant to make the top five is located in a gas station in a hamlet in northeastern Alberta.
Lac La Biche is home to a population of about 2,300 and, apparently, one of Canada’s best restrooms. The loo that made the list is at the Beaver Hill Shell station.
It was designed with comfort in mind, contest organizers say.
“Unlike conventional rest-stops, they feature luxurious details throughout. Clean lines like herringbone-patterned wall and floor tile, paired with sleek wall sconces, shining chandeliers and large, decorative mirrors create a modern yet rustic look,” Cintas Canada said in the statement.
“Meanwhile, simple details like relaxing artwork and warm, wooden stall doors make the washrooms stand out.”
Cluny Bistro, in Toronto’s Distillery District, is also a finalist, praised for its solid oak walls, cement flooring and white marble countertops.
The restrooms in the restaurant located within the heritage site of the Gooderham Building were designed by Studio Munge, Cintas says.
“The washrooms feature warm woods, delicate gold fixtures and frosted glass. Meanwhile, the tiled floor is decorated in shades of yellow, orange and duck-egg blue.”
Rounding out the top five is Cosmos Cafe in Quebec City.
“With its eclectic décor and modern style, the Cosmos Cafe carries an atmosphere worth experiencing,” contest organizers said.
“The artistic elements found throughout the cafe flow into the washrooms where you’ll find sinks made of rock with waterfall faucets and touchless amenities.”
Among the features highlighted in the announcement were the restrooms’ one-way mirrored fish tanks.
The top five were selected based on criteria including cleanliness, visual appeal, innovation, functionality and unique design elements, organizers say.
Votes from the public will determine which toilet triumphs, which facility flushes out the competition.
Lavatory lovers can cast their bathroom ballots online.
The winner will be given a place in Canada’s Best Restroom Hall of fame, and a prize of $2,500 in facility services from Cintas.
Last year’s winning washroom was St. Albert Honda, which beat out four others including Vancouver’s Anh and Chi.