Urban Detail (v) Signs of the Times

It’s a pretty standard trope for travellers to take pictures of signs with oddly translated English signs. I certainly have a collection of them.

But pictograms can sometimes be just as bizarre:

Just what is being prohibited on this metal placard on a Paris park? No one I asked knew.

This is more explicit, wherein a “legitimate” massage establishment has to distinguish itself from a “happy endings” provider:

Paris welcomes tourists and locals with a scattering of these automated toilets. In civil-service Ottawa of course everyone is constipated and such facilities are never needed, nor can we be bothered with pedestrian walks wide enough to site one:

Sometimes these fancy very mod conveniences were disguised for their location, here is one wrapped in rough wood to “blend in” to the park:

Ottawa is, of course, a tourist friendly city and aspires to be a walkable city for its residents. But it Depends on private businesses if you “gotta go”.

3 thoughts on “Urban Detail (v) Signs of the Times

  1. The restaurants on the north side of Rideau between Dalhousie and King Edward all have “For Customers Only” displayed on doors and window. The Metro Grocery store has a public washroom but it’s often out of service because some customers trash it. So where do you go for a go?

  2. The former CIty of Nepean built a pair of washrooms in Centrepointe Park at a cost of >$250K. The amalgamated City of Ottawa leveraged the water lines to install a water park (sprinkler heads and fountains in amusing shapes). Much to the chagrin of the parents of the children who use the park, the city keeps the washrooms locked because, shocking as it may seem, people use those washrooms for their intended purpose.

    1. I think one of the issues re public toilets is that do-gooders try to impose middle class values and make the WC “nice”, ie tiles, sink, counter, mirrors, heated … Then public adversion to public WC’s attracting the wrong crowd, insists they be located in the least attractive locations, and not enough be put in so they are “overloaded”. I much prefer the portland model, written about here before, which provides a permanent stainless steel version of a go hut with no amenities. Portapotties put in some parks dont get locked at night and continue to be useful for their main purpose but unappealing for other, less intended uses.

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