Sunday, May 19, 2019


Our First Inspection

On this trip to Toronto, we are helping our son with a project he is working on. It is a phone app that gives people information about washrooms in the Toronto area. The focus is on accessibility of the buildings and accessible features in the washroom. The app focuses on washrooms in public parks originally but other locations can be added, but in order for the app to be accurate and useful these washrooms had to be actually inspected by someone. Ryan was unable to find anyone locally who was willing to do this task, so he called his retired parents and offered the job to us.

On the first day we used public transportation and got seven washrooms done with 14 km walking, so or goal of 120 in a week was not going to work. We rented a nice little sub-compact car and on the second day, working from the extreme outskirts of the city we were able to get 21 inspected. This added expense would make the goal achievable. And so in five days we managed to get the 120
Typical Toronto Restroom
washrooms finished. Using the car also allowed us to do all the locations in the suburbs and locations away from the convenient public transportation system, leaving some of the washrooms in the central core of the city to be done on foot.

You might think this would be a rather disgusting task (My brother's opinion), but in reality it was not. We only found one washroom that was really dirty, and it was because it was being repaired and so the doors were blocked open and litter and leaves had blown in. Most of the washrooms were clean and in good repair. Some were tired and worn but mostly clean. Even washrooms in rather depressed neighbourhoods were generally in good condition. Obviously the city of Toronto has a very
Excellent Service 
good maintenance program and we ran into white city of Toronto service trucks at many locations. I met one friendly employee at three different locations one day, and found plumbers, electricians and carpenters at various sites maintaining the facilities. So I can give the city of Toronto high marks for their public washroom program.

We did discover a group of locations that had been left off the list during our exploration of the city. Most neighbourhoods have beautiful community Recreation centres and these would be convenient and were all highly accessible, containing not only accessible facilities but also gender neutral washrooms. We suggested these sites as well as public libraries be added, and this will be done ASAP.

We did run into a few surprises. Regis went into one washroom and quickly came back out
exclaiming “There's a Racoon in there!”; sure enough under a bench was a young racoon, but he was as terrified of her as she was to find him there. In another was an elderly gentleman sitting on the floor reading a book. It had started to rain unexpectedly that day, so he retreated to the washroom until the weather cleared. We found a number of washrooms were “Closed for the Season”, and realized that our timing was off by a week and most sites would be operational after the Victoria Day weekend. For some reason we found a couple of sites where the Women's restroom was unlocked but not the Men's. What was the reasoning here, women need to use the washroom more urgently than us men, or were the males expected to pee against the back wall?

When you are carrying a clipboard and pens into washrooms it does elicit some questions, and when we explained our mission, we always got positive feedback and people thought it was an excellent, much needed application. A good sign for the future of the “Flusher” app.
This one showed signs of flooding from river

We both agreed that in fact the job was not at all “Disgusting” and in fact we found it interesting to explore the various neighbourhoods around the GTA (Greater Toronto Area). We visited lovely parks, found nice walking trails and just got to see areas of the city we would not normally visit.

Many were actually attractive buildings

No comments:

Post a Comment