Word had gotten around that there were some interesting toilets & murals outside the Double Wide bar in Deep Ellum, but I had no idea what to expect. I downed a quick pint at the bar upon my arrival before venturing out to the side patio. Wasn’t I surprised and delighted to witness this: a toilet cactus garden.
Kudos to whoever came up with this idea. Amazing.
SOME BONUS PHOTOS!
The light switch in the mens room on the inside of the building:
The mural on the outside of the building. What a slogan!
I was recently made aware of College Saint-Laurent (Cégep de Saint-Laurent), in the Saint-Laurent district of Montreal. Established in 1847 as a technical college, it offers numerous French-speaking courses predominantly in the arts and science fields.
A couple of Redditors tipped the college off to me as a potential place to visit for its washroom aesthetics. A gentleman who had studied there in the past claimed the toilet block was closed for a few years in the late 70’s; upon its reopening in 1981, the graffiti wars began. And as I soon discovered – it hasn’t ceased to this day.
I arrived at the campus late on a Saturday afternoon after visiting the nearby Saint Laurent Museum of Art. I wandered through the college halls and made my way into the cafeteria, where I spotted the sign leading to the washrooms.
I knew I’d be in for a treat when I entered this corridor just outside the lavatory doors:
As if that wasn’t mind-blowing enough, I opened the first of the (unsigned) washroom doors and found myself in the ladies room. Check it out!
Here’s a panorama of the ladies room stalls. The decades worth of graffiti layered on the walls was incredible to behold:
I took this pic for the Mumford & Sons lyrics, then later I noticed the … uh, egg…
Eventually I made my way next door to the mens room, which was equally as impressive:
These have gotta be some of the best graffitied washrooms in the world, let alone Canada. A huge ‘well done’ to the students of this college for keeping up the tradition over the years.
Heading towards the end of an epic night making new friends around the grand city of Charleston, I found myself at Cutty’s on St Philip Street. It was around 1 or 2 am at this stage, and I was told on good authority that this particular establishment was famous for being the dive bar in town to be seen drinking at.
Cutty’s had also been highly recommended to my by the kind people of Reddit for its washroom interior, and after a few sips of my Pabst I ventured inside to see just what the fuss was all about. Take a look at this:
What a proverb – a shit leopard never loses its spots:
Here’s a riveting conversation on the Cutty’s wall about Taco Bell:
– Eating Taco Bell makes my doo doo smell
– Your shit always smelled. Taco Bell probably made it worse
– Oh I bet you’re fun at parties
Occasionally the drunken scribble had a dark undertone to it:
All my dog wants to do is play. All I want to do is die.
I hope this guy is ok.
And finally, some internet advice for y’all:
Spanning a number of blocks along Saint Catherine East in Montreal is The Village, famed for its LGBT-friendly strip of bars, nightclubs and restaurants.
I visited the rather elegant Restaurant Mozza Pâtes & Passions along said strip and was very impressed to discover this disco toilet, complete with a playlist featuring 80’s gold such as Cyndi Lauper, Abba and Sylvester.
This is toilet art at its finest!
And in case you feel like dancing along to some Abba, here’s a short video I took inside this very welcoming washroom:
Big thanks to the community at Reddit for suggesting this as one of Montreal’s most impressive washrooms.
Before I left on my trip to Boston I received a recommendation from a kind Redditor to visit Life Alive, a cafe in the unassuming city of Lowell, MA, famed for its vegan fare, soul-nurturing atmosphere, and a very well-tended zen garden bathroom.
It was definitely worth the hour long journey north of Boston to witness for myself what may well be the most peaceful amenity in the whole of north America, not to mention the delicious Goddess Bowl and Loco Coco smoothie that I dined on.
If this doesn’t put the ‘rest’ into restroom, I don’t know what does.
A very good point regarding recycled rolls:
I was quite surprised to find this book on the basin next to the loo, serendipitously open on the page of my birthday. August 15: Sometimes Ignorance Is Bliss.
Seriously, what an amazing bathroom. Kudos to all at Life Alive for creating such a pleasant atmosphere. If you’re ever in Massachusetts you should drop by – there are currently locations in Lowell, Cambridge and Salem (the Lowell branch is the one with the garden bathroom).
Here are a few final snaps of the gorgeous cafe itself:
Earlier this year I had a couple of days stopover in Seoul, South Korea, en route back to Canada from Australia.
I’d heard through various sources on the web that there existed a unique museum dedicated entirely to the loo in the southern province of Gyeonggi-do, known as Mr. Toilet House (local name: Haewoojae). It goes without saying that I needed to see this place for myself.
During the 1990’s, the then-mayor of Suwon City, Mr Sim Jae-duck, was well known for promoting and beautifying South Korean public toilet culture. His passion for the potty was so rich that in 2007, he completely redesigned his house of 30 years into the shape of a toilet seat. Upon Mr. Sim’s death in 2009, the house was donated to Suwon City, who converted the building to a Toilet Culture Museum the following year in his honour.
The museum takes up two floors – the first floor is a permanent exhibition featuring interactive displays, documents and toilet-related materials that offer an insight into the toilet culture movement around the world; the second floor is a temporary exhibition hall which also houses a number of photos and artefacts dedicated to the life & times of Mr. Sim. A Toilet Culture Park surrounding the museum was opened in 2012 and consists of scores of artworks & historical toilet displays from across the ages – not to mention dozens of hilarious photo opportunities for well-humoured tourists!
After quite some time on the train from Seoul it took me a further 40 minutes to walk to Mr. Toilet House from Sungkyunkwan Station. I spent a few hours wandering around the museum & surrounding parklands and was quite fascinated with the many toilet-related exhibitions, sculptures and paraphernalia within its grounds. Highlights included a giant golden poo by the museum’s entrance, the toilet located in the centre of the building with a transparent glass window that becomes opaque at the flick of a switch, and the many toilets around the parklands that have been converted into colourful mini flower gardens.
I’d definitely recommend Mr. Toilet House to any visitor to Seoul who has an interest in unique/eccentric tourist attractions. It’s a little out of the way to travel to on public transport, so set aside half a day if you decide to make the trip. In the meantime, you can check out some of the photos from my visit below!
Mr. Toilet House (Haewoojae)
Address: Jangan-ro 458-9, Jangan-gu, Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do 440-310, South Korea
Opening hours: March-October 10:00 – 18:00, November-February 10:00 – 17:00. (closed on Mondays, Jan 1st, Lunar New Year’s Day and Korean Thanksgiving holidays)
Have you ever been to Mr. Toilet House? Would you ever visit? Leave a message below if so!
BONUS PHOTO: this one is a little NSFW so you need to click through to page 2 if you want to see it 🙂
Here’s an unusual attraction at the Canadian town of Niagara Falls: the Upside Down House.
Constructed in 2012 by creative Mississauga resident Marek Cyran, the entire house and all its furnishings are constructed the wrong way around. It features a kitchen, living room, bedrooms, study, and of course, the obligatory upside-down toilet.
If you’re ever in the area to check out the famous waterfall, it’s worth a trek up the very touristy Clifton Hill to see this augmented dwelling for yourself!
A snowy outhouse with a bucket of sawdust at the top of the picturesque Hubbard Park in Montpelier, Vermont
It has come to my attention over the past few years while partaking in the Toilography project that there are a handful of toilet-themed restaurants dotted around this crazy wide world. That’s right folks: actual eateries where the decor consists of life-size basins, bowls & bathroom accessories; where drinks arrive in toilet teacups and food is served on powder-room plates.
The first of these such diners I became aware of was Modern Toilet, a Taiwanese institution founded in 2004 that has since expanded across the country and even branched out into Hong Kong. However more recently I discovered the existence of a second toilet restaurant chain based in Malaysia, with the apt name of T-Bowl Concept Restaurant. It is claimed the idea behind this particular concept came to fruition while the owner, Samuel, was one day sitting on the loo, pondering what it would be like to eat whilst undergoing his business. It wasn’t long until the entrepreneur opened his first T-Bowl restaurant in Penang in 2008, followed by a second outlet in Kuala Lumpur in 2009.
I was recently lucky enough to stop by Kuala Lumpur on a day-trip following a weekend in Singapore, and I couldn’t help but drop into Sungei Wang Plaza to witness this unique lavatory lunchroom for myself!
I arrived in the early/mid-afternoon, just following what I assume was the busy lunch period. The eatery itself was closed for cleaning, and after a quick glance of the inside adornments I was instead ushered to a food court area in front of the restaurant. Although still featuring a bathroom backdrop with basins to eat at and toilet bowls to sit on, this open area in the centre of the plaza didn’t quite have the same atmosphere as the inner space that I’d missed the opportunity of dining in. Thankfully the room opened back up by the time I finished my meal, and the wait staff kindly allowed me to walk through the inside and snap a few photos:
The selection of food on the menu was affordable and relatively broad with a large emphasis on Japanese & Korean cuisine, but also featuring some western, Taiwanese and traditional oriental items. I ordered the grilled chicken in turmeric sauce along with a side of fresh fruit and some hot wulong tea. Of course the main course came served to me in a toilet-themed dish, with the fruit and tea appearing in similarly-themed receptacles.
The food was surprisingly delicious considering my awkward surroundings, and as an added bonus for dessert: just for liking their Facebook page and checking in with a photo, I scored myself a free chocolate ice cream! (Yes, the ice cream too was presented in a toilet bowl – not to mention the appropriate shape of the frozen treat) 🙂
I’m happy to say that my first experience at a toilet-themed restaurant was a positive and interesting one, and I left with an intrigue as to exactly how such a concept seems to have taken off in popularity throughout Asia. If you ever find yourself in Malaysia then this is your perfect opportunity to try something a little different from the norm. I highly suggest you drop by and grab yourself a meal there.
|T-Bowl Kuala Lumpur:
Sungei Wang Plaza – 3rd Floor
Open 7 days a week from 11am to 10pm
Queensbay Mall – 3rd Floor
Open 7 days a week from 11am to 10pm
Here are some pics of the incredible graffiti-clad loo at the much-loved inner-city Townsville cafe, The Sweatshop. This is one of the most creative toilets I’ve encountered along my travels. Their jaffles are delicious as well.
* UPDATE: that since this post was published, The Sweatshop has moved locations and as such this awesome toilet is no longer.