Washrooms at York: A Survival Guide

Written by Alex Colle

Today, I have a confession to make. I am ashamed that I have not come to you all earlier, but I want you to know that it was a difficult decision to finally be honest. Okay, here it is:

For years I’ve kept several secrets from my family, friends, and even you. Yes, YOU: the first-year student.

“How could you do such a thing, Alex?!”

Well, it was a selfish thing to do, and completely for my own benefit. It’s going to be even more difficult to tell you what the secret is, but I’m going to do it anyway because I care about my job as a Student Ambassador and Mentor for the Department of Theatre.

I am ready to tell you. Here it is:

There are amazing washrooms in almost every building at York. I have a list of them. Right here. I haven’t told anyone about these washrooms because I wanted them to be mine. A secret washroom is the best washroom. An exclusive washroom for the worthy is a privilege. A good washroom is like a good friend: reliable, safe, and personable. I realize that divulging this information would in effect remove the secrecy, but I trust that those who read this article will not spread the news further out of this circle.

Before I release the list, I must outline the criteria I use to rate each washroom:

  1. Cleanliness. A must. If I’m going to expose certain parts of myself in a public area, I need to know that this place is spotless. A clean washroom let’s me know that I’ll be in safe hands for the duration of the experience.
  2. Traffic. A deal breaker for me personally. Being a self-conscious washroom-goer, it makes me comfortable having a washroom all to myself. Plus, it allows me to watch videos with the volume as loud as I want without being worried about annoying anyone.
  3. Accessibility. If it requires me to climb more than two flights of stairs, I’m not using it. What do you think I am? A marathon runner?

It’s worth noting that my knowledge only extends to the men’s bathrooms around York. Although there may be a difference in cleanliness between certain men’s and women’s washrooms, the traffic and accessibility will more or less be the same.

Without further ado, here is the list in no particular order:

CFT: Washroom beside the Film lounge 
This one breaks my heart to divulge because the best aspect of this spot is its secrecy. Out of the way of the main Starbucks traffic of the CFT, this old washroom is mainly used by a couple of film majors and GO Bus drivers. I use the word “mainly” very lightly, because this washroom rarely has company. It is clean for the most part due to its low traffic, and it is very accessible if you find yourself in the building. Points are lost for broken stall door locks, so make sure to give the door a bit of physicality to fit that lock in the hole. This bathroom may look old and uninviting, but I suggest you give this old feller a chance.

CFA: Basement Washroom
A great washroom. Equipped with an elevator if you don’t feel like walking down a flight of steps, this place is everything you can ask for in a public washroom. Not only is it constantly clean and fresh smelling, but I’ve rarely encountered anyone in my years of using it. There is also some humorous graffiti to admire on the cement walls of the far-side stalls.

ACE: Basement Washroom, South Side
Another basement dweller, but like the CFA washroom it is equipped with an elevator and is very accessible. This one makes the list purely because of its size. This washroom is massive. I swear, this thing is in two postal codes. This size is a positive because even if another person occupies the washroom, you probably won’t even notice. In terms of other criteria, this washroom is always clean. The only note I’ll give you is to pay attention to the gender signs when walking into it. I have an interesting story about accidentally entering and using the women’s washroom. Maybe I’m just an idiot.

Ross South: Washroom behind Room 138
Best washroom in the entire building. For me, this place is an oasis for such a monstrosity of a building. It’s very sizeable and accessible. Due to it being a bit out of the way of the central walk, it’s not as used as one would think for such a busy building. Cleanliness might be a bit of a problem during the busy hours, but if you catch this place at the right times, you’ll be alright. Major plus for the heavy-duty stall doors with no cracks to look through and the water fountain right outside.

If you’re looking for washrooms, steer clear of this building. Dirty, busy, and inaccessible are a few words to describe my experiences here. Stay away.

Student Centre/York Lanes: NONE
Same as above, minus the accessibility. The Student Centre ground floor washroom beside Yogen Früz is single-handedly the most disgusting washroom in all of York. Maybe it’s from all the Gino’s Pizza. Pathetic.

Winters College: Gender Neutral Washroom beside the Winters Council Room
Ahh peace and quiet. If you’re looking for it, you’ll find it in this washroom. Sandwiched between the typical male/female washrooms, this individual room gives you the opportunity to get some guaranteed alone time.