The City of Toronto will be opening a number of additional park washrooms over this coming winter in order to help residents make use of outdoor public spaces while the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
Usually, the city closes many of its park washroom facilities over the winter months due to low usage of the parks combined with the fact many of them have not been winterized and plumbing would freeze. Some city-owned public washrooms do stay open over the winter, many of them in connection with outdoor skating rinks and other cold-weather usages.
This year, though, the city announced on Nov. 18 that an additional 79 public washroom sites will be kept open over the winter. Of those new washrooms to be opened for the winter, 28 are facilities already located in parks. Another 51 portable washrooms will be installed in high-use parks, the city announcement said.
“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…Additionally, portable toilets will be deployed to 51 high-use locations where winter activities will occur,” the announcement said.
The combination of additional washrooms, and those that usually stay open during the cold weather, makes a total of 143 that will be available for public use this winter.
The city is still working to create a comprehensive list with map locations of exactly in which parks and where the additional winter washroom facilities will be located.
Across Toronto, the city maintains 187 park washrooms many of which are traditionally closed after the Thanksgiving weekend and not reopened until the warm weather returns.
As part of the first wave of COVID-19 last spring, many of those washrooms were not immediately reopened as there were concerns about crowds gathering in parks and spreading the virus. Most park washrooms were eventually reopened by June 6 with strict instructions on following public health guidelines.
See our story about the reopening of city park washrooms last June at https://beachmetro.com/2020/06/05/number-of-washrooms-in-east-toronto-parks-being-reopened-by-city/