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The Future of Coin-Op Urination is Now

Photo by Miles Storey/Torontoist.

Toronto’s coordinated street furniture program, though troubled by the occasional legal dispute, rolls on. Earlier this week, we were tipped off to the presence of a new permanent resident on the corner of Queen’s Quay and Rees Street: Toronto’s very first pay toilet, still swaddled in hoarding.
Kyp Perikleous, who oversees the coordinated street furniture program for the City, says the washroom should be available for use by the end of this month. “There’s a great deal of mechanical that still needs to be connected,” he told us, meaning subterranean connections to the city’s water, sewer, and electricity networks. The washroom is not just a hole in the ground; it’s a robot, capable of working round the clock, with stainless-steel fixtures and self-cleaning ability. There will be a human maintenance crew on call twenty-four hours a day to fix any mechanical hiccups. The washroom also has heating and air-conditioning, which makes it nicer than our apartment.
Astral Media, the advertising company that is providing all this new street furniture to the City in exchange for the right to advertise in Toronto’s rights-of-way, is obligated to provide nineteen more of these washrooms before the end of their twenty-year contract. Perikleous says the next three will appear sometime in September. Then, sometime after the following August, Astral and the City will begin installing more at a rate of two per year.
As recently as last December, the National Post was reporting that the per-use price for the new washrooms would be one dollar. A peek under the hoarding revealed that the price has fallen considerably in the interval between then and now, to a very reasonable twenty-five cents. (Astral keeps the admission fee, so it’s safe to say this wasn’t their idea.) Perikleous says tokens will be provided to outreach programs, so homeless people can use the washrooms for free.
Keep checking Torontoist for more exciting robot washroom coverage.
Thanks to reader Jonathan for the tip.


  • http://undefined rek

    In Japan, convenience stores provide public washrooms.

  • toronto_llb

    Aside from the obvious, I have no idea how this washroom idea is supposed to work.
    If it’s got heat and air conditioning, what’s to stop someone from just setting up shop in there for the night?
    Far be it from me to begrudge someone the full value of their free toilet token, but I’m curious to know how far this idea has been thought through. If nothing else, I look forward to the inevitable city job posting for “public toilet efficiency officer” (requires English degree), which of course defeats the purpose of automation.

  • http://undefined torontothegreat

    I’m wondering the same thing actually…

  • Steve Kupferman

    The way it works in other places that have these things is that eventually the washroom will begin cleaning itself, making staying inside for long periods of time extremely uncomfortable.
    It’s sometimes difficult to get the City on the phone about street furniture things, but I’ll try to check on that next time I have an opportunity.

  • http://undefined Usus

    These are a waste. It would be much more cost efficient and safe to have public restrooms with attendants.

  • http://undefined Snuggles

    In soviet Russia, toilet poops you.

  • http://undefined Adam

    Oh good, another gaudy plastic edifice on our streets. I hope it holds up as well as those trash bins have.

  • TheRealJohnson

    I’m happy that kids will have more things to tag now. I