Wednesday, November 17, 2004


Or, how to celebrate the wonders of water-closets

By Theolonius McTavish, a regular visitor to throne rooms of renown and off-the-beaten track places of ease

November 19th is a very auspicious occasion. It's none other than "International Tinkle Pantry Day".

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the little known term "tinkle pantry", it is the focal point and modest appliance found in most "water closets", "places of ease" or "comfort stations".

North Americans probably know the tinkle pantry by way of more familiar terms such as "throne room", "powder room" or just plain "restroom".

Few realize that the average person visits the toilet 2,500 times per year, or 6-8 times per day, which all adds up to about 3 years of one's life. Considering the fact that this humble private and sometimes public privy is the most frequently visited room in any home or workplace, precious little has been done to recognize it's vital role in society.

If truth be told, the tinkle pantry is a subject most avoid so as not to be considered a scruffy scatalogical storyteller. Considered a taboo dinner table topic, it is shunned by everyone except toddlers and parents who rejoice at the first step into adulthood by passing "Toilet Training 101" with flying colours.

It is rare indeed to see a politician of any stripe spend much time waxing on about the virtues of toilets. Precious few communities or even corporations consider celebrating with parades, marching bands, or even an official holiday, the invention of the toilet (made possible several thousand years ago by Chinese craftsmen and modernized by a British plumber named T.J. Crapper in the late 19th century). And, it wasn't until 1935 that "New World" tinkle pantry goers would be able to enjoy what most of us take for granted today, "splinter-free" toilet-paper.

But, times have changed. Four years ago, the World Toilet Organization, (comprised of 17 toilet associations, although the US, one of the most fastidious and hygiene conscious countries in the world has not signed on yet), decided to recognize and honor the 'great equalizer of humanity' with it's own day of remembrance - November 19th -- "World Toilet Day".

This year, November 17-19, in Beijing, China decision-makers not to mention movers and shakers from around the globe will be gathering to discuss "hot" topics in the world of tinkle pantries. This year's "World Toilet Summit" conference will include among other presentations:

-- The Toilet - A Tool of Social Change
-- The Horizontal Society
-- Toilets as Tourism Attraction
-- Start-Up of a Toilet Association
-- Generating Revenue Through Advertisements in Good Toilets
-- How the Loo of the Year Awards Translates Good Toilets as Marketing Tools for their Owners
-- Dry Toilets, Natural Toilets, Mobile Toilets, and Humanized Toilets
-- The Interior Design of a Toilet Caters to the Diversity of a Culture
-- The Provision & Availability of Toilets in Establishing the Code of Practice for Toilets
-- Is the Provision of Good Toilets Critical in Hosting World Events?

So, if you're looking for something to do on November 19th...why not whip out your favorite plonger, pay a trip to your favorite plumbing and hardware store, or maybe check out one of those six, safe, spanking new, high-tech personal yet public privies -- at a cost of $600,000 each for a German-designed and manufactured stainless steel cannister, single accommodation only -- installed for your comfort and convenience in heart of "sleepless in Seattle", Washington-- where else!


By the way, if you're looking for more information about the World Toilet Summit (, you might want to check out the the 41,900 website pages devoted to the topic, not to mention the 3,120 website pages highlighting "Toilet Day".

You might also want to a wee peek at the first map in the world featuring the location and description of more than 14,000 public and private toilet facilities to be found in Australia (as part of its $15 million continence strategy)

And, not to be forgotten -- Canada's own Water & Wastewater Association knows all about "International Water Celebrations" by paying tribute to the tinkle pantry

Of course there's one place that never misses an opportunity to party! It seems that this year, the "Cactus Club Cafe in Calgary" has been lauded for its luscious loos by taking top spot in "Alberta's Best Bathroom" contest (sponsored by the Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating). This "place of ease" -- replete with LCD screens featuring movie trailers, do-not-disturb signs on stall doors, soft lighting, mood music, and handmade Italian mosaic tiles -- is nothing short of a water-closet wonderland. As if this wasn't enough, these sophisticated sit-upons also come with automatic seat covers and foot-controlled flushers to make this an unforgettable hands-free, organically-friendly, go-with-the-"low-flow" experience.