Toronto vs. Japan: A tale of two subway washrooms

It was the best of toilets, it was the worst of toilets.

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📸: The Green Line.

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Haruka Ide

Journalism student at Centennial College. Raised in Japan as a triplet and passionate about understanding how people’s identities are shaped. Currently exploring nature in Toronto as a squirrel lover.


Melanie Kalogirou

University of Toronto student in the joint journalism program with Centennial College. Grew up in Scarborough, passionate about inclusive storytelling, and loves talking about entertainment and music. 

April 3, 2024

Public washrooms: a haven or a hazard?

From flickering lights to plastic-covered sinks, TTC washrooms tell a story that's not so glamorous.

My name's Haruka Ide, and I grew up in Japan, where tidiness in public stalls is almost taken for granted. After moving to Toronto, the contrast was stark.

What I found at Kennedy Station, for example, resembled a scene from a horror movie more than a washroom.

Bird feathers, iron bars, unwelcoming smells — you would be forgiven for thinking washroom maintenance is a forgotten art in one of Canada's busiest underground transit systems.

As Torontonians, what standards should we expect from public bathrooms?

Listen to these takes from commuters on the TTC, and watch their reactions to subway bathrooms in Japan in the video, above.

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