The GottaGo! Campaign lobbies for
more public toilets in Ottawa and
better signage to help the public find existing toilets.
We are an advocacy group founded in 2015 by residents who want to see a network of open, free and accessible public toilets in the city.
Ottawa has one million residents and ten million visitors every year.
Adults with young children, people with illnesses such as Crohn’s, Colitis and Irritable Bowel, many recent mothers, patients of medications with certain side effects, elderly men and many others need to use a toilet at short notice at some time.
MISSING AND HIDDEN TOILETS
There are many gaps in public toilet coverage as well as many buildings with a toilet available for public use but no nearby signs to explain this.
There are 14 public buildings in downtown Ottawa with no street-level signs about where to find the toilets or when they are open.
There are another 7 commercial or other buildings in downtown identified on the Ottawa Tourist Map as having a toilet for public use but have no street-level signs.
The 19 park-and-ride locations have no toilets.
There are over 100 splash pads, dozens of parks, and many kilometres of bicycle / walk paths in Ottawa, many with no toilet facilities.
Montreal is currently building 12 street level public toilets. These cost about $300,000 each.
Parks in Pierrefonds, a suburb to the North of Montreal has 3 dry composting toilets that cost about $50,000 each.
Many cities in Germany run the nette Toilette scheme which pays coffee shops and restaurants a small monthly sum to make their toilets available to non-customers. Stuttgart (population 624,000) claims to have 246 locations in the scheme.
Vienna aims to have the ‘best public toilets of any European capital.’
THERE IS SOME PROGRESS
The two Ottawa LRT lines have public toilets in 24% of its stations (4/17). This is the highest ratio in any public transit system in North America and better than similar transport systems in London, Paris and other major European cities (but not Japan and South Korea).
Crohn’s & Colitis Canada and MS Canada are launching a GoHere initiative that will ask coffee shops and others to let non-customers use their toilets without question.
- Post signs outside Public Buildings such as libraries, fire halls, community centres and seniors centres that clearly state that their toilets are for public use. Cost: an estimated 100 buildings, 2 signs each, $ 10 per sign: total = $2000;
- Design and install street level signs in downtown Ottawa to guide people to the location of public toilets and their opening hours. Cost: 21 buildings, 2 signs each, $100 per sign: total = $4,200;
- Provide Data on toilet availability in parks, splash pads, bike/walking trails and identification of missing toilets. These data are available from City records.
- City Council to provide one porta potty at each splash pad, park-and-ride and recreational park which has no nearby toilet. These cost approximately $5 per day to rent and be cleaned twice a week.
- City Council to acknowledge that we have a Public Toilet problem, that we recognise that it will become worse with an aging population and that the above asks are low cost solutions to help us make the best use of our existing resources.