Saturday, March 19, 2011

$hitty Hall's Failed Toilet Experiment

I just received this photo but it was taken around the 2nd last week of February at 2:30 a.m. on a Thursday, shortly after patrons streamed out of the No. 5 Orange strip bar at Main & Powell St.

My guess is that this toilet across the street from the No. 5 Orange was broken by one of their patrons, as the bar had just closed. Downtown Eastsiders have long said that much of the vandalism in the neighbourhood is committed by rowdies coming to the area to drink. Rowdies pull up to the No. 5 Orange in expensive cars, taxis, and limos.

For years, guys leaving the No. 5 Orange would walk across the street and take a leak in the garden or the hedge by the fire station. The Olympics changed that. The City installed a high-tech, self-cleaning outhouse on the sidewalk in front of the fire station. After that, men leaving the No. 5 Orange would walk across the street and around the outhouse to take a leak in the garden or the hedge by the fire station. There is something about that little electronic button you have to push to get into the outhouse that leaves a guy wondering whether that door can be trusted to open again on the way out.

Not only guys from the bar but pedestrians on the sidewalk too have to walk around the outhouse.

Keeping this electronic outhouse operating has been like flushing money down the toilet. When it was built, a team of City worker in florescent yellow vests were there for a long time -- nobody remembers just how long -- digging up the street and then putting it back together again. A team of workers were back again this year, making a big hole and then re-paving the sidewalk. Shortly afterwards the toilet bowl was busted.

The outhouse must be at least partly financed by CBS, the company that puts billboard advertisements on both sides of it. The only action neighbours have seen around the outhouse recently is the billboard man driving up in the white CBS van to tinker with the controls for the billboards, which he accesses by opening a small door in the back of the outhouse.

The door of the outhouse has been locked for almost a month. And guys continue to walk around it to take a low-tech leak in the garden or the hedge.

Photo of the sink in the outhouse which somebody stuffed a shirt into on the same night the toilet was broken