Cintas Canada has announced the winners of its annual Best Restroom Contest and, this year, a humble gas station in northern Alberta has scored top honours. The Valleyview Shell Super Station has won first place for its tidy, assiduously scrutinized and surprisingly luxurious facilities.
The restrooms at Valleyview Shell, an 8,350-sq.-ft. convenience store that sees between 2,000 and 2,500 passers-through a day, serve up more than the bare necessities expected of a gas station on a remote stretch of Highway 43. In addition to cleanliness (attendants do a tour of the place two or three times every hour), this lavatory boasts some extraordinary design features that no doubt delight users expecting otherwise. Who knew you’d find such exotica as wooden doors and ceilings and — gasp — a chandelier in such a prosaic setting? More than that, the thoughtful inclusion of geothermal heating and cooling technology means this Victorian-style pit stop is also eco-friendly.
The almost-as-prestigious 2013 runner-up spot went to Steamworks Brew Pub in Vancouver. The ladies’ john in this Gastown favourite gets lots of buzz for the way its smart design (think hands-free stainless steel fixtures, floor-to-ceiling polished stone and glass mosaic infinity tiles and marble countertops) delivers a nod to functionality. An oversized stall features two toilets separated by a shoulder-height partition so that women traveling in gossipy pairs can continue their conversations on the throne. Such practical consideration also makes it easier for mothers accompanying young children to the bathroom.
CHOP Steakhouse, from Richmond, BC, picked up third place. Fourth-place kudos went to MoRoCo Chocolat in Toronto. And Marche Restaurant, also from Toronto, rounded out the top five.