City staff opening park washrooms early

The city has good news for those who want to get out and picnic. Parks staff are banking on warmer weather moving in and staying, so they’re opening public washrooms earlier this year.

As of mid-April, 32 of the city’s 128 seasonal washrooms were fully open. Toronto also has 54 winterized park washrooms that are accessible all year round.

To get things ready for the upcoming season plumbers and technicians must flush pipes then activate the water infrastructure.

Withrow Park women's washroom
OPEN EARLY: This washroom in Withrow Park is already open in mid-April, despite the sign showing the usual season of May to October. (Rodger Burnside/Streeter)

“We are focused on getting nuts and bolts services right for our residents,” said Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie, chair of the Infrastructure and Environment Committee.

“Opening seasonal washrooms and drinking water fountains earlier than in past years delivers on a promise we made to residents.”

McLelvie said city staff are implementing “concrete changes” that include longer operating hours and a new online map for residents to track washroom status.

Once the taps, toilets and urinals are running another crew moves in to make a thorough cleaning of everything and leave behind soap, toilet paper and paper towels.

It’s almost certain repairs will be needed to some of the infrastructure meaning some washrooms will be closed, but only temporarily.

Once washrooms are open the drinking fountains and bottle filling stations attached to them will also be turned on.

It’s a different story for standalone fountains. Crews need about six weeks to get them operational and to make sure their water is drinkable.

washrooms map
WHERE TO GO: City’s interactive map shows where public washrooms and drinking fountains are available.

But spring isn’t just about toilets and water fountains. There are also splash and spray pads, outdoor and wading pools, ornamental fountains and irrigation systems in community and allotment gardens.

Add it all up and the city has more than 2,000 water facilities to get up and running.

Spray and splash pads should be operating by mid-May and wading and outdoor pools by late June with lifeguards and attendants on hand.

Open longer too

Park washrooms will be open until 10 p.m. this summer and later for special events that run past 10 o’clock.

Washrooms and water fountains will also stay operational until later in the fall.

Council approved $2.86 million in its 2023 budget for washroom and fountain operating costs.