Toronto to more than double its number of winter park washrooms — TORONTO, ON., NOV. 20, 2020 — The City of Toronto announced today that it will more than double its supply of winter park washrooms from 64 to 143 as part of its ongoing response to COVID-19.
City staff are presenting a plan and report to the November City Council meeting that will add 79 new winter washrooms across the city on top of the 64 locations typically available. The report comes in response to a request by City Council last month to explore expanding the number of public washrooms available throughout the winter.
“This more than doubling of access to public washrooms in parks throughout the winter will be of great benefit to residents who will want to safely enjoy the outdoors more often,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory. “We know the increase in park use during the COVID pandemic will continue and it is essential that the City provide services that support these changes in behaviour.”
Most of the City’s park washrooms are not winterized. Given the resurgence of COVID-19 in Toronto and the increased need for access to outdoor space through the winter months, staff have determined that an additional 28 park washrooms can be kept open. These additional locations were inspected to ensure they can remain open without damage to the infrastructure, and in some cases minor retrofits were made to support winter use. The expanded locations include washrooms at golf courses, fieldhouses and stadiums that are not normally kept open through winter months. Additionally, portable toilets will be deployed to 51 high-use locations where winter activities will occur. Snow clearing will be provided at all winter washroom locations in parks.
Washrooms will be also be available at 47 outdoor rinks once the season begins in late-November, weather dependent. The increase of 79 new locations brings the total number of washrooms available from 64 to 143.
Toronto maintains 187 public park washrooms. Most are usually closed by Thanksgiving weekend. Seasonal washrooms were not designed or constructed for winter use. Generally, they lack insulated plumbing and sufficient electrical for heating of the building. They must be closed in advance of winter to avoid temperatures that would result in water pipes freezing and bursting.
Winter accessible public washrooms are also available in community recreation centres, libraries and City-owned buildings throughout Toronto. The City is working to post a comprehensive list and map of locations on the City’s website.
The City will present outdoor options for winter activities in the coming days.
The City had also opened a number of facilities with showers and washrooms for all individuals in need of these services, including those experiencing homelessness and other vulnerable individuals. Portable toilets with hand-washing stations are also available in key locations. Detailed information about these facilities, including hours of operation and amenities, can be found on the City’s website under washroom and sanitation services.
More information about actions people can take to slow the spread of COVID-19 as well as the latest information about changes to City services is available on the City’s website.