Updated April 2018 – Where can you go to pee in downtown Ottawa… for free? If you sometimes need to ask for the nearest washroom (or restroom, or bathroom, or toilet, or water closet, or whatever the culturally-appropriate term is for a place for you to pee and relieve yourself) then the Downtown Ottawa Public Washroom Map is made just for you. The Ottawa Public Washroom Map is in PDF format and available for free.
The Washroom Map is keyed to show the locations of two different types of washrooms. The yellow symbol shows public washrooms located in public buildings like museums, major hotels and shopping concourses. These are washrooms where you can walk in off the street.
The smaller white symbols on the map show the locations of coffeeshops with washrooms available for public use. The etiquette in Ottawa is that coffee shops do allow the public to use their washroom unless they post a sign to the contrary. Still, if you want to take advantage of the opportunity to relax and cleanup, and show your gratitude afterward by purchasing a beverage, it will be appreciated.
This map doesn’t show all the coffeeshops, just the major coffeeshops.
If anyone is wondering why the public washroom in Parliament Hill’s Centre Block isn’t on this map, it’s because you first need to line up to get tickets and then wait for a while in line just to get in. This is sure not a place where the public can just walk in, so there’s not much use including it on the map.
Please note that access to these public washrooms depends on when the building is open. During the daytime, this isn’t a problem but late in the evening you may find that the larger hotels are your best chance to find a publically-available washroom.
The map also doesn’t show the dozens and dozens of bars and restaurants found in the Byward Market area between Dalhousie and Sussex, and closer to Parliament Hill between Sparks Street and Laurier. These establishments all have washrooms for the use of their customers. Alas, not for public use.
The good news is that downtown Ottawa has many, MANY public washrooms and this makes it easy to find a washroom most of the time. Sometimes, like on the July 1 Canada Day holiday, a lot of facilities are stretched and it can take you a little longer to find a washroom. But you‘ll never have to walk more than a few blocks, so relax, you’ll usually spend more time looking for parking than looking for a washroom.
If you have any suggestions about how to improve this map, we’d love to hear from you. Email to firstname.lastname@example.org