Edmonton

A luxurious loo: Whitecourt washrooms named national finalist

If you’re looking for a place to relieve yourself in luxury, Whitecourt may be worth the trip.

One of the best places to take care of business is only a short drive away

Unlike this lavatory in the Guggenheim Museum, the winning washrooms in Whitecourt do not include any 18-karat gold toilets, but they are still "pretty swanky." (Kristopher McKay/Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum)

If you're looking for a place to relieve yourself in luxury, Whitecourt may be worth the trip.

The facilities at the Esso Super Station, located on the outskirts of the town 180 kilometres northwest of Edmonton, have been named among the best places to take care of business in Canada.

The lavatories, tucked away inside the unassuming gas station, made a list of the top five best washrooms in the country. The list is released annually by Cintas, a company that offers deals on restroom equipment for businesses. 

"Everyone is pretty excited about it," Esso manager Cameron Isherwood said Tuesday.

"It seems like a big deal. We knew we were one of the top-of-the-line ones around, but we were happy to see ourselves in the top five, for sure."

Top five washrooms of 2016 (Cintas)

1.       W Montreal – Montreal, Québec

2.       Sauce Italian Kitchen & Market – Calgary, Alberta

3.       Assiniboine Park Lyric Theatre – Winnipeg, Manitoba

4.       Whitecourt Esso Super Station – Whitecourt, Alberta

5.       East Village – Calgary, Alberta

After a round of nominations from the public, Cintas judged restrooms on five criteria: cleanliness, visual appeal, innovation, functionality and unique design elements.

These lavish lavatories have it all.
A view inside the women's washroom at the Whitecourt Super Station (ESSO )

The Whitecourt Esso loos allow the common traveller to unzip in opulent surroundings not often found in gas station rest stops.

Instead of bare 40-watt light bulbs swinging overhead and grungy linoleum at your feet, the washrooms are adorned with pendant chandeliers and gleaming slabs of marble tile.

"They're pretty fancy," said Isherwood.

"And we take a lot of pride in keeping them really clean and looking really sharp."

Wowed by a restroom 

The men's restroom features automated toilets and brown monochrome design paired with decorative wall tiles.

White subway and mosaic tiles give the women's space a sleek and clean feel. Decorative sconces and ornate carved mirrors are perfectly placed along the walls to add a final touch of elegance.

Isherwood says the top-end toilets lead to a lot of satisfied customers.

"People come out and mouth to the other person that they came in with, like, 'Wow, these washrooms are special, these are the nicest bathrooms I've ever been in. These are nicer than the ones in my house.'

"They're blown away for the most part."

Now it's up to the public to choose the best overall washroom. Voting closes Oct. 24 with the winner announced later this fall.