Paul Wilson: We're talkin' urinals here – and Hamilton is big league

They'll soon be knocking down Ivor Wynne. Sadly, there will be no saving the porcelain treasures that line the south-stand facilities.
There's more porcelain in one place right here at Ivor Wynne than anywhere else for miles around. (By Paul Wilson)

Just like Hamilton, the city of Winnipeg is tearing down an old CFL stadium. They’re about to start selling off bits and pieces of the place where the Blue Bombers played.

Fans will be able to buy seats, pieces of turf, goal posts, lockers, the Jumbotron and more.

CBC Sports is running a poll there right now, asking people which item they’d be most interesting in buying. And last I looked, in the lead by a landslide – the urinal trough.

I’m sure it’s a handsome piece of stainless steel. But for sheer history and majesty, no city in the league can touch the urinals of Ivor Wynne.

They put our stadium up for the 1930 Empire Games. I don’t believe the porcelain under the south stands would have been there then. But my gosh, those urinals have been serving football fans for a long, long time. Well, the men anyway.

On one side of that black-and-gold bathroom, there are eight Crane urinals of the wallhanger variety. They’re the kind you see everywhere.

Just run-of-the-mill wall-hangers to the right, but those sturdy troops at left are genuine WAWs.

But now gaze at that long white line of the very best from the Standard bathroom fixtures company – 20 stations ready to serve. In each, to keep things fresh, a snow-white scented cake. (Sometimes called mints, pucks, cookies.)

These urinals are the kind you almost step right into. They’re set in the floor, there for a lifetime. According to, they’re properly referred to as WAWs, short for Wee Against the Wall. (Scientific name: urinae adversarius murus)

No flushing needed here; it’s all automatic. And no splashing either. In short, the WAW is one of man’s most perfect inventions.

But new urinals have motion-activated flushers and privacy panels. The WAWs are now rare. They used to have them at the CN Station on James North. And at the Wellington House on Cannon, last men-only tavern in the province. And in the Gore Park subterranean washrooms.

Soon, men with jackhammers will march in and try to pry those mighty Ivor Wynne urinals from the earth. It’s a crying shame, all that history going down the drain.

Read more CBC Hamilton stories by Paul Wilson here.