2023 April 17
The City of Toronto is accelerating this spring’s opening of seasonal park washrooms and has already completed the first early openings.
Late last week, City crews began activating seasonal park washrooms. Staff are now in the field daily, accompanying plumbers and technicians who are flushing pipes and activating water infrastructure. As of this morning, 32 of 128 seasonal washrooms have been activated and are fully open to the public.
Seasonal park washrooms and the drinking water fountains, and bottle filling stations connected to them should be ready and open to the public by May 5. The remaining standalone water fountains in parks will be open by late May.
To get seasonal washroom buildings open and safe for the public takes time and requires highly coordinated teams of staff and contractors. The sequence to open each of the 128 seasonal park washroom locations over three weeks is:
• Step 1 – Water activation: Technical staff go to each site and activate the water sources to facilities, connect individual fixtures (such as toilets, urinals and faucets) and perform maintenance.
• Step 2 – Cleaning and stocking: After technical staff are finished, cleaning teams attend washrooms where water is activated/connected (usually the next day based on scheduling) and complete a deep clean, including stocking the washroom with soap, toilet paper and paper towels.
• Step 3 – Open to the public: Following steps 1 and 2, clean and safe washrooms are open to the public. From time to time, upon opening seasonal park washrooms, staff find that more significant repairs are needed. In these cases, signs will be posted indicating the washroom is temporarily closed for maintenance.
Water fountains and bottle filling stations attached to seasonal washroom buildings are activated as the buildings are opened. Work to open the remaining standalone fountains (not attached to buildings) continues once washroom buildings are complete. After the first washrooms open, crews need approximately six weeks to get all other water fountains and bottle filling stations open and tested for drinking. All fountains are tested for water potability when they are activated.
Each spring, the City coordinates work to open more than 2,000 water facilities in parks, including washrooms and fountains, splash and spray pads, outdoor pools and wading pools, ornamental fountains and community and allotment gardens and irrigation systems.
In mid-May, the City will open spray and splash pads. Wading pools and outdoor pools will open by late June when seasonal lifeguards and attendants are available.
The City budgets more than $180 million annually for all maintenance, staffing and operation of approximately 1,500 parks, including the opening and maintenance of seasonal park washrooms. In 2023, Toronto City Council approved an additional $2.8 million in new investment to ensure seasonal washrooms and drinking fountains in City parks open as soon as weather conditions permit in the spring and stay open later in the fall.
The City maintains 182 standalone park washrooms and works as quickly as possible to open the 128 seasonal washrooms and bring more than 700 water fountains online when weather permits.
Highlights of 2023 service improvements:
• 128 seasonal washrooms plus any attached water fountains or bottle filling stations in City parks will open by May 5 (weather permitting).
• More than 700 drinking water fountains are expected to open by late May (weather permitting).
• New online map to make it easier for residents and visitors to find public washrooms and track the open/closed status of washrooms, drinking fountains, bottle fillers and dog fountains: www.toronto.ca/ParkWashrooms.
• Improved peak season operating hours for park washrooms, which will be open until 10 p.m. this summer and later for seasonal park permits or special events that run past 10 p.m.
• Extended season so that seasonal washrooms and water fountains will be open sooner this spring and later in the fall
• New and updated signage that makes operating hours clearer.