Edmonton

A loo that's worth a looky: Lac La Biche gas station named best bathroom in Canada

With its chandeliers and saloon-style swinging doors, a Shell station in central Alberta has won the title of best public bathroom in Canada.

Facilities boast chandeliers, saloon-style doors and an overall rustic feel

The luxury urinals, featured inside the Beaver Hill Shell gas station men's washrooms. (Submitted by Ashley Kabalan)

With its chandeliers and saloon-style swinging doors, a Shell station in Lac La Biche, Alta. has won the title of best public bathroom in Canada.

"It's nice to see all our hard work paid off for something," Mo Kabalan, owner of the Beaver Hill Shell, told CBC Radio's Edmonton AM on Thursday. "Even though it is just a bathroom."

The announcement was made earlier this week by Cintas Canada, a company that offers deals on restroom equipment for businesses. The contest, open to any non-residential public restroom in Canada, has run for the last 10 years with the winner getting $2,500. 

Kabalan said that since the nomination in early August, traffic has picked up, both to the gas station and into the store and restaurant.

"A lot of people never stopped in Lac la Biche, because we're off the highway," he said. "Now they pull in, have a snack, get a drink and hit the road."

The interior of the Beaver Hill Shell gas station's public restrooms. (Submitted by Ashley Kabalan)

And, he added, they use the facilities.

"We say go check out the bathroom and they go 'Holy cow.'"

In addition to the fancy lighting and swinging doors — which Kabalan said is part of the overall hands-free design — the bathrooms also boast granite countertops, handmade wooden doors on the stalls, nice mirrors and an overall rustic feel.

However, owning a destination washroom comes with a serious responsibility: cleanliness, he said. When he's hiring staff, he makes it clear that their priorities are customer service — and the bathroom.

"The bathroom is number one, make sure the bathroom is clean. That's number one."

The winning bathroom is chosen through online voting, following the announcement of the top five finalists earlier in the summer. The Beaver Hill Shell was the only Alberta washroom on the top five list; the other four were from Quebec City, Toronto and Vancouver.

Another interior shot of the luxury Beaver Hill Shell gas station bathrooms. (Submitted by Ashley Kabalan)

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