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Posts Tagged "washrooms"

16Jul

These 5 washrooms are finalists in an annual search for Canada’s best

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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.
 

Bauhaus Restaurant
 

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.”
 

Laurence and Chico
 

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.”
 

Beaver Hill Shell
 

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.”
 

Cluny Bistro
 

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.
 

Cosmos Cafe
 

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


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6Dec

Public washrooms coming to Metro Vancouver transit system

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Laura Mackenrot, the former vice-chair of the City of Vancouver’s persons with disabilities advisory committee, outside TransLink headquarters. The board approved a policy that will see washrooms added to stations along the transit system.


Jennifer Saltman / PNG

TransLink customers looking for public restrooms on Metro Vancouver’s transit system could soon find relief.

The transit authority’s board of directors on Thursday approved a recommendation from management to increase the number of washrooms available for public use.

“This is a very big change from where we’ve been in the past, and I’m really pleased to see us moving in this direction,” said board member Larry Beasley.

Public washrooms have been a hot-button topic over the years, and TransLink did not previously have a policy. The new one was developed during 2018.

In the past, TransLink has cited the high cost of maintenance, and passenger safety and security as reasons to avoid adding washrooms on transit.

Currently, the only public washrooms are found at both SeaBus terminals and on West Coast Express trains, and they are required by federal transportation regulations.

A survey conducted as part of the review asked more than 2,000 people about washroom availability, and 72 per cent said that more washrooms would improve their transit experience. About 25 per cent said they would use transit more often if there were more washrooms.

“We do see this as an important ridership growth, ridership development objective,” said Andrew McCurran, TransLink’s director of strategic planning and policy.

Laura Mackenrot, the former vice-chair of the City of Vancouver’s persons with disabilities advisory committee, said four city committees had appealed to TransLink to add more washrooms to the transit system.

“How can you deny people the ability to do a basic human need every day?” Mackenrot asked the board. “This is not just a disability issue, it’s an accessibility issue that affects us all — all ages and all abilities.”

Mackenrot said she knows people who don’t use public transit because they have no access to washrooms, and urged TransLink to make sure any washrooms it adds are universally accessible and gender neutral.

According to a staff report, washrooms should be placed at major transfer or connection points for a high number of transit passengers, in places where there will be many passengers who have long journey times and evenly spaced on the system.

TransLink will look at existing spaces within stations, adding washrooms during upgrades or construction of new stations or partnering with developers, municipalities or private businesses.

An implementation strategy will be brought to the board for consideration next year, which will include potential washroom locations, costs and a timeline.

Mackenrot said after the meeting that she was very happy with the board’s decision.

“We worked really hard on this for the last couple of years and I think it’s a great first step in the right direction to be including washrooms in our stations,” she said.

One TransLink policy that won’t change is related to pets on transit.

Currently, TransLink allows pets — other than certified service animals — if they are in small, hand-held cages that fit on your lap. Transit operators can refuse a pet if there is a concern for safety or comfort of other passengers, or if there is standing room only.

It was anticipated that allowing more pets would negatively affect people travelling without pets, worsen safety and well being of passengers and staff, hurt system efficiency and increase administrative costs.

Management recommended that TransLink maintain its current policy, but continue to monitor industry trends and public sentiment to see if changes are needed in the future. The board endorsed that recommendation.

“Our current policy strikes a reasonable balance, providing an option for individuals who travel with pets without unreasonable, negative impacts to other transit riders,” said Andrew Devlin, manager of policy development.

Margaret Halsey has long advocated for allowing more dogs on transit. She said that if the board won’t consider changing the policy, then there should be a pilot project to see how it might work to have more pets on board.

“I’m certain that dogs that are allowed only at set times or on specific trains or buses would alleviate a considerable amount of challenges,” Halsey said.

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3Dec

North Van school addresses vaping problem by locking washrooms

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A high school in North Vancouver, B.C. is taking some extraordinary steps to curb the number of students meeting up during class time to vape. 

The number of teenagers using e-cigarette in washrooms, locker rooms and sometimes even classrooms has become a “very serious issue” at Seycove Secondary School, according to a bulletin that was distributed to parents on Friday.

“Students are arranging to meet in groups by texting each other during class time,” the bulletin said. “There is increased hallway traffic during classes, and a generally ‘casual’ response from students when (they) are asked to return to class.”

To curtail the vaping problem, staff said they are locking all student washrooms except one near the gymnasium and a gender-neutral washroom near the office.

Signs are being posted at closed washrooms alerting students they have been locked over “inappropriate use” and directing them to the locations that are still open.

Locker rooms are also being locked all day except at the beginning and end of classes, according to the bulletin, and supervision aides have been instructed to record the students they see in the halls during class time.

E-cigarettes simulate smoking by vapourizing fluid, which can vary in nicotine content and sometimes contains no nicotine at all. While the risks associated with the habit are still being studied, Health Canada currently believes vaping is harmful, but less harmful than regular cigarettes.

The agency is also unequivocally against nicotine use by teenagers.

“There is … clear evidence that nicotine exposure during adolescence adversely affects cognitive function and development,” the agency said in a May 2018 statement.

“Nicotine is a potent and powerfully addictive substance, particularly for youth. Vaping products containing nicotine could potentially lead to addiction, the subsequent use of tobacco products, and the renormalization of smoking behaviours.”

Not all parents are fans of Seycove’s response to the vaping problem. One woman told CTV News that limiting the number of available washrooms was an unacceptable response.  


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6Oct

Vancouver candidate pushes for diaper change tables in all washrooms

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One Vancouver city council candidate is pushing for changes at city hall.

Specifically, diaper changes – and change tables that are accessible to both women and men in all public facilities, so there’s nothing stopping a dad from doing it.

“Dads change, grandparents change, everybody changes diapers,” Independent Vancouver city council candidate Erin Shum told CTV News. “We need to make it available to everyone.”

Shum is a new mom to four-month-old Abigail, and says facilities vary. There are diaper change tables in almost all women’s washrooms in publically accessible buildings. But as for men’s washrooms? It depends.

“My husband and I always struggle when we’re out. Who’s going to change her diaper?” she said.

Shum, who is currently a park board commissioner, introduced a motion to add change tables to all gender and accessible washrooms in Park Board buildings, such as community centres. It passed unanimously last week.

Now she says that’s something she wants to see in all public buildings in Vancouver.

The motion was inspired by Barack Obama’s BABIES Act, which put change tables in the bathrooms of every publically accessible U.S. federal building.

As roles shift and dads do more parenting across North America, a variety of buildings have been under more pressure to provide tools for them too.

In Florida last week, a man’s photo of himself squatting on the bathroom floor and changing a diaper with his baby in his lap was shared widely on Instagram with the hashtag #squatforchange.

“We do exist, and we are willing to do more than provide and protect,” said Donte Palmer.

In Quebec earlier this year, another man pressured Tim Hortons to equip its bathrooms too – and the chain agreed.

The motion seems to have support from a wide spectrum of city parties. Vision Vancouver’s Catherine Evans, also a park board commissioner looking to be on city council, said things had changed a lot since she was changing diapers in the 1980s.

“It has a lot to do with women’s equality,” she said. Then, facilities were hard to find even for women, because of the assumption they would be more often at home, caring for children. Putting change tables in women’s washrooms was a big step – but now more facilities should have men’s tables too, she said.

“There’s an assumption there. It’s time we caught up. It was the reality but it’s not the reality anymore,” she said.

CTV News found that some park board buildings, like Trout Lake Community Centre, had a change table in the men’s washroom. But at Renfrew Community Centre, it wasn’t there.

NPA park board commissioner turned council candidate Sarah Kirby Yung said the park board had found 96 change tables in park board buildings. She said there is a place to change a child in every building, but it may not be accessible to everyone.

“Some of the gaps are in the older facilities,” she said. “As we’re moving towards universal washrooms, we’re putting those in.”

Some city bathrooms have already been upgraded, and the city’s downtown library has a parenting room.

OneCity candidate Christine Boyle said she supported the idea – and said parents had also raised the issue of accessible bathrooms in transit hubs as well.

“It matters a lot to be looking at how we make Vancouver more family friendly at all levels,” she said.

Each change table is about $400, Shum said.

“Everything we can do to help includes something as simple and practical and affordable like change tables,” she said.

Shum hopes the next time Abigail needs a change, it could be just as easy for her dad to do it. 


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5Jul

‘Accessible washrooms should include everyone’: N.S. human rights inquiry begins – Halifax

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Imagine only being able to go to a limited number of food establishments because the majority of them don’t have restrooms you’re able to access. Those living with physical disabilities in Nova Scotia say that is their ongoing reality.

Four people are now fighting the provincial government to address accessible bathrooms in a human rights inquiry.

“We have under a public health law, a requirement that every licensed food establishment has washrooms for the public that are convenient and those aren’t administered in any way that takes into account accessibility and our point of view is the public includes everybody, includes people who use wheelchairs for mobility and a convenient washroom for them is one that is accessible,” David Fraser said, the lawyer who’s representing the case on behalf of the complainants.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission to hold inquiry into restaurant washroom access

Fraser says the start of the inquiry is the latest stage in what’s been a “long process.”

He says his clients originally went to the Human Rights Commission to register a complaint about the way the province enforces accessible washrooms in the realm of public health. The commission rejected their complaint.

Fraser then took on the case pro-bono and the matter went before the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, where a court order was issued to accept the complaint.

That was last year, and since then the commission has appointed a tribunal to hear the matter.

The inquiry is being overseen by Gail Gatchalian, a human rights and labour law lawyer. Gatchalian has also granted intervenor status to the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia, meaning they have the right to participate and provide comment on any legal issues being considered throughout the proceedings.

Fraser says the public-health law and regulations requiring accessible restrooms are in place, but how the government interprets them are key.

“Right now as we understand it, the government interprets the regulation in such a way that the public is the ‘average’ public and ‘convenient’ is only seen as a matter of, ‘Does the location of the washroom compromise food safety?’ And in our view, accessibility to the washroom actually has a big impact on that,” Fraser said.

One of the complaints is from Gus Reed, who wrote to the municipality when accessible patios were being considered, asking to consider the lack of accessible washrooms.

“I didn’t receive a response to that and in my own way, I pursued that by trying to speak with the minister of the environment,” he said.

Reed said he did have a meeting with the Department of Environment but that it was “inconclusive,” leading him to file a human rights complaint.

Reed ultimately wants the government to view inaccessibility to washrooms as a food-safety issue because if people with physical disabilities can’t wash their hands, it could impact the health safety of the restaurant as a whole.

Fraser reinforces that point by referencing an outbreak of Norovirus that occurred in a Halifax restaurant.

“Somebody came for a cruise ship and they transmitted Norovirus — a whole bunch of people on the staff got sick and hand hygiene is the number one thing that deals with those issues,” Fraser said.

The Department of Environment says regulations state that washrooms be in a convenient location, and the government recognizes the importance of accessibility.

“The province is working to address issues of accessibility through the Accessibility Act, with the goal of being accessible by 2030,” the department said in a statement to Global News.

The inquiry will run over the next several days.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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27Mar

Vancouver community centre installs signs for universal washrooms – BC

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The Vancouver Park Board has taken a big step toward making community centres more inclusive for transgender people.

Hillcrest Community Centre is the first in the city to receive new signage for universal washrooms and change rooms. It is part of a larger effort to make public spaces feels safer and more inclusive.

Over the course of the next year, signs will be changed at other community centres. Fitness and aquatic programs will also be revamped to be more transgender friendly.

“This is about making everybody feel comfortable at our community centres,” said Park Board chair John Coupar. “I am extremely proud to be a member of the Board that initiated these historic moves and to be the Chair of the Board now fulfilling our commitments.”

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28Mar

Vancouver Park Board asking for input on universal washrooms and signage – BC

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As part of the plan to create safe, inclusive, and welcoming spaces for trans and gender variant people in Vancouver, the Board of Parks and Recreation will be asking for the public’s input on signage and options.

The Trans* and Gender Variant Working Group, (TGVWG), have put out a report and have made a number of recommendations including human resource training, program expansions and signage and literature. One part of the report recommends changing signs on washrooms and change rooms to make them universal spaces.

Universal-sign

There are already a number of universal facilities in Vancouver park board facilities, and commissioner Trevor Loke says they just want to make sure everyone feels welcome and included.

“We think that the recommendation of universal washrooms is a good idea,” says Loke. “We will be using more inclusive language based on the BC Human Rights Code.”

Loke says they have had occasions where people have entered a washroom of the gender they identify with and have been told to get out, and it more extreme cases, have been beaten.

“Let’s instead just put a toilet or a wheelchair on that space to let people know anyone can use it,” says Loke.

Washroom-signs2

The TGVWG has made a number of recommendations for signs for the bathrooms, but Loke says this should not be a big change for anyone.

“The BC Human Rights Code says people can already use the washroom of their choice,” he says.

“Trans-people do have the right to use the washroom.”

For more information on the report and to provide feedback, visit the TGVWG website.

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