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Red Deer Restroom just might be the loveliest lavatory in Canada!

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Technically it’s in Gasoline Alley which means Red Deer County can also lay claim to this magnificent water closet at the Sweet Market Esso Station on the city’s south edge.  Canada’s best restroom contest has named the top 5 finalists and three incredible Alberta biffies are on the list!

Clearly the Sweet Market Esso’s palatial potties are the most beautiful, but that does not make it the clear cut winner.  The Sweet Market will need Central Albertans to rally behind this luscious lavatory if they’re going to win.  This is a voting contest so you can do your part to make sure the Sweet Market Esso ‘wipes up’ the competition.

Just look at this beauty!  Voting information is below.

News Release from Cintas Canada

The Sweet Market Esso Station in Red Deer, AB is a finalist in the 2021 Canada’s Best Restroom contest!

The five finalists include:

  1. Toronto Zoo – Toronto, ON
  2. Surrey Park – Surrey, BC
  3. Sweet Market Esso Station – Red Deer, AB
  4. The ROOFTOP – Calgary, AB
  5. Borden Park – Edmonton, AB

The public can submit multiple votes for the Toronto Zoo and the other four finalists now through July 9 at bestrestroom.com/Canada.

The facility that receives the most votes will win $2,500 in facility services from Cintas to help maintain their award-winning washrooms.

 

Cintas Canada Unveils Five Finalists in the 2021 Canada’s Best Restroom Contest

The polls are open now through July 9

Cintas Canada, Ltd. invites the public to vote for the five finalists in the 2021 Canada’s Best Restroom contest! The polls are open now through July 9 at bestrestroom.com/Canada. The facility that receives the most votes will win $2,500 in facility services from Cintas to help maintain their award-winning washrooms.

Cintas’ nationwide contest highlights businesses that have invested in developing and maintaining exceptional washrooms. “These five facilities demonstrate a commitment to prioritizing hygiene and customer service – especially as cleanliness is so important right now – combined with creativity and whimsy not usually seen in washrooms,” said Candice Raynsford, Marketing Manager, Cintas Canada.

Nominees for this year’s contest were judged on five criteria: cleanliness, visual appeal, innovation, functionality and unique design elements. The five finalists include:

Toronto Zoo – Toronto, ON

 

Designed with the Toronto Zoo’s mission of connecting people, animals and conservation science to fight extinction in mind, the new washrooms in the Zoo’s Tundra Trek feature iconic Canadian species. The design draws on inspiration from our natural world for its fresh yet familiar atmosphere. From the cool blue mosaic walls that represent the calm transition of horizon to sky, to the dark and dramatic overhead features that represent the vast night sky across the tundra, no detail is too small. Each handwashing unit features a hands-free faucet, soap dispenser and hand dryer. The trough-style sink eliminates water splashing on the floor and includes hooks on the outside of the counter to hang a purse, backpack or coat. This state-of-the-art facility modernizes the Toronto Zoo’s guest experience in a visually stunning way.

 

Surrey Park – Surrey, BC

The intent for the park washroom was to create a playful, durable, safe facility that works well within the City of Surrey’s park contexts. The washroom was designed to be universally accessible, hands-free with no-touch fixtures and configured for solar power. It also features public art panels on all four sides of the structure. The design employs a distinct form, strong colours and unique use of materials.

 

Sweet Market Esso Station – Red Deer, AB

The washrooms at Sweet Market Esso boast decorative high-end tiles and five-star finishes, giving the restrooms a classy feel, mimicking a fancy hotel suite in Italy rather than a convenience store restroom. These washrooms are always a topic of customer conversation in the store where selfies take center stage. The constant comments regarding the awe of it all – plus the extreme cleanliness – are great reminders of the sheer elegance and grandeur these restrooms provide for the customer.

 

The ROOFTOP – Calgary, AB

 

The ROOFTOP restaurant is a unique “weather managed” outdoor patio experience located in downtown Calgary. The adjacent indoor washrooms were designed to be inclusive, engaging and distinctively unique. As you enter “The Alley” you are greeted by a life-sized bobblehead re-imagined as your personal concierge. Walk in to immerse yourself in the funky and fun graffiti wallpaper sections taken largely from the “John Lennon Peace Wall” originally created in Prague. Elements of surprise abound throughout these unusual washrooms, including the porta-potty door in the “Mostly Men” area and hidden selfie walls.

 

Borden Park – Edmonton, AB

Designed by gh3, the washrooms are at the core of the single-level pavilion surrounded by highly reflective glass. An integrated approach to environmental sustainability is evident in the choice of materials: wood, concrete and glass were selected for their durability, permanence and timelessness. The washroom features hands-free elements to reduce germs and a stainless-steel trough-style sink that prevents water splashing on the floor. The sleek washroom stands as a striking improvement on the typical concrete options, and a sign of outstanding design to come.

For contest updates, fun facts and washroom trivia, “Like” Canada’s Best Restroom on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/CanadasBestRestroom.

 

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Alberta

Graffiti artist completes world’s tallest mural in downtown Calgary

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CALGARY — It looms on the edge of downtown a stone’s throw from the Calgary Tower,  a splash of colour amid aging buildings, railway tracks, parkades and a steady stream of traffic.

It’s billed as the world’s tallest mural, painted by one of the globe’s top graffiti artists, and is part of a project to turn an austere area of downtown into an expansive open-air urban art gallery.

“The brutalism and dystopian look of this area with the giant parkades and the spiral ramps and stuff — it feels like Gotham. So turning this wall from concrete nothing to this is really fun,” said Peter Oliver, president of the Beltline Urban Murals Project, or BUMP.

The mural is an abstract painting in various shades of orange, black, grey, blue, white and yellow and is the creation of DAIM, an internationally renowned German artist. DAIM, whose real name is Mirko Reisser, has been creating public artworks for more than 30 years.

“DAIM’s work is rooted in graffiti art. It’s abstract and he was actually the very first graffiti artist to start exploring three-dimensional works. So his work kind of obeys the laws of light and shadow but defies the laws of gravity,” Oliver said.

“I think his work really marries well with the brutalism of this building and it’s just a massive flat wall of concrete. It’s the very first prefabricated concrete building in Calgary, built in 1980.”

The mural is 95 metres high, making it the tallest mural in the world “by a long shot,” said Oliver.

He said most cities don’t have giant concrete walls available, with the majority being glass, steel or aluminum. So this was a perfect marriage.

DAIM, who was assisted by three local artists, spent over three weeks painting and went through more than 500 cans of spray paint after a base coat was added to the bare concrete. It is to be a permanent addition to the area and, as of last week, was awaiting a coat of UV sealant to make it complete.

Facing toward the east, it can be seen from a long way away.

“If you’ve got the window seat on the airplane, you can see it on the approach into the airport,” Oliver said.

“I think what we’re really doing with BUMP is re-architecting the identity of this city.”

The project will be unveiling about 60 new murals during its annual festival, which runs from Aug. 1 to 28. Before that, the new art work can be viewed by visitors at the annual Calgary Stampede, which begins this week.

“If you’re coming down, I’d check this out over the parade any day,” Oliver said with a chuckle.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 4, 2022.

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Beehives and goat farms: Lacombe school shortlisted in global environmental contest

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Taylor Perez says she learned more about her passions while tending beehives, goats and fruit trees at her central Alberta high school than sitting through lessons in a classroom.

“These are all skills we don’t learn in regular classes,” says the 18-year-old student at Lacombe Composite High School.

“You’re not going to learn how to collaborate with community members by sitting in a classroom learning about E = mc2.”

Perez and her classmates are buzzing with excitement after their school’s student-led beekeeping program, goat farm, fruit orchard, tropical greenhouse and other environmental projects were recognized in a global sustainability contest among 10 other schools.

It’s the only North American school to be shortlisted by T4 Education, a global advocacy group, in its World’s Best School Prize for Environmental Action contest.

“The projects are coming from the students’ own hearts and passion for taking care of the environment,” says Steven Schultz, an agriculture and environmental science teacher who has been teaching in Lacombe since 1996.

“They are going to be our community leaders — maybe even our politicians — and for them to know what the heartbeat of their generation is (is) extremely important.”

Schultz says the projects are pitched and designed by students in the school’s Ecovision Club, to which Perez belongs, and he then bases a curriculum around those ideas.

The school of about 900 students began reducing its environmental footprint in 2006 when a former student heard Schultz say during a lesson on renewable energy that “words were meaningless or worthless without action,” the 56-year-old teacher recalls.

“She took that to heart and a year later she came back and told me that she wanted to take the school off the grid.”

Schultz and students watched a fire burn down solar panels on the school’s roof in 2010, an event that further transformed his approach to teaching.

“As their school was burning, my students gathered in tears. That day I realized that students really care about the environment and they really care about the projects that they were involved in.”

Since then, 32 new solar panels have been installed, and they produce up to four per cent of the school’s electricity. After the fire, students also wanted to clean the air in their classrooms so they filled some with spider plants, including one in the teachers’ lounge.

More recently, students replaced an old portable classroom on school property with a greenhouse that operates solely with renewable energy. It’s growing tropical fruits, such as bananas, pineapples, and lemons, and also houses some tilapia fish.

Two acres of the school are also covered by a food forest made up of almost 200 fruit trees and 50 raised beds where organic food is grown.

The school also works with a local farm and raises baby goats inside a solar-powered barn that was built with recycled material.

“They breed and milk them at the farm because there are really tight regulations,” says Schultz.

“We take the excrement from the goats and the hay and use it as mulch and fertilizers for our garden. The goats also chew up the grass and allow us not to have to use lawn mowers and tractors”

Perez said her favourite class is the beekeeping program with 12 hives that produce more than 300 kilograms of honey every year.

“I love that they have different roles in their own little societies,” Perez says of the bees.

She says while working with local businesses and groups as a part of her curriculum, she learned she’s passionate about the environment and wants to become a pharmacist so she can continue giving back to her community.

James Finley, a formerly shy Grade 10 student, says the Ecovision Club and environment classes have helped get him out of his comfort zone.

“I made friends, which was a hard thing for me in the beginning. But now I have, like, hundreds,” says the 16-year-old, who enjoyed the lessons he took on harvesting.

“Taylor and Mr. Schultz were the main people that made me stay.”

Schultz says the winners of the contest are to be announced in the fall.

A prize of about $322,000 will be equally shared among five winners.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sunday, July 3, 2022.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Fakiha Baig, The Canadian Press

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july, 2022

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