Guelph Lab research project looks at experiences with and availability of public washrooms across city

Guelph, Ont., September 14, 2023—The Guelph Lab, a collaboration of The College of Social and Applied Human Sciences, University of Guelph and the City of Guelph, is working with the University’s Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics to map public washrooms across the city 

The maps are part of broader research to understand community experiences with public washrooms, if there are enough across the city, and how people in Guelph are affected when they can’t access washrooms.  

The project team visited the 24 permanent public washrooms currently available across Guelph and combined the information with City data to create two maps of public washrooms: a city-wide map, and a map specific to the downtown core. The maps are shared in a report, Access to public washrooms in Guelph: what’s open and when (PDF 6MB), as the first phase of this project wraps up. 

Both maps show: 

  • what types of washrooms are available, e.g., permanent or portable, accessible or not,  
  • when washrooms are available at different times of year, e.g., seasonal availability, 
  • what times the washrooms are open, e.g., daytime only or 24 hours a day, and  
  • what days of the week washrooms are available. 

The project to map public washrooms and document experiences was created in response to community needs in the downtown core and across the city. It reflects the need to consider inclusion and equity in how the City delivers programs and services. The goal of this project is to make recommendations to improve access to public washrooms in the city for everyone. 

Why does access matter? 

Access to public washrooms is important for everyone in Guelph, but washrooms aren’t always available, and not everyone has access to washrooms when they need them. Access, including types of washrooms and when they’re available, can affect people’s activities and enjoyment of public spaces, and is of critical importance for people with disabilities and people experiencing homelessness.  

Next steps 

The project team is interviewing people in Guelph about their experiences using public washrooms. The team is interested in the perspectives of everyone in Guelph, especially those who are most affected by a lack of access to washrooms. 

The project team will use feedback from the interviews and mapping of current public washrooms to provide recommendations for improving access to public washrooms in Guelph. The report will be shared with the Council at a future date.  

About Guelph Lab 

The Guelph Lab is a collaboration of The College of Social and Applied Human Sciences, University of Guelph and the City of Guelph. The purpose of the Lab is to address challenges that have direct impact and relevance to the community. The Lab is focused on “public innovation” – developing solutions to the challenges faced by the community that cannot be solved without some form of government intervention. The Lab does this by bringing together municipal, community, and university expertise and knowledge. 

Media Contact 

Stacey Laughlin, Downtown Revitalization Advisor
Office of the Chief Administrative Officer
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2327
[email protected]