Yoho National Park gets etiquette signs to help international tourists use outhouses

The signs ask users to sit rather than stand on toilet seats

Interior view of an outhouse at the Lake O’Hara parking lot at Yoho National Park in the Rocky Mountains, in eastern British Columbia on July 28, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colette Derworiz)

New signs are popping up in the Canadian Rockies to show international visitors how to properly use outhouses.

Staff at Lake O’Hara in B.C.’s Yoho National Park installed toilet etiquette signs, which ask users to sit rather than stand on toilet seats, in bathroom facilities in June.

“We’ve noticed that some visitors who aren’t used to Western-style toilets — they may attempt to stand up on the seats when using the toilet,” said Jed Cochrane, an acting visitor experience manager in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks.

“Because the toilet is not designed for that, it ultimately creates problems with cleanliness.”

Standing on a toilet, he said, can also lead to a broken seat or a broken seal at the bottom of the toilet because weight is higher up than it should be.

“And there’s always the risk of falling, which no one wants to do,” added Cochrane.

Some public toilets in Asian countries and the Middle East are pit latrines, which require users to squat over an open hole.

Signs that show people how to use seat toilets can also be found in other tourist locations, including the Swiss Alps and parts of the United Kingdom.

Cochrane said Canada’s mountain parks have started seeing an increase in international visitors over the past decade.

“We are seeing more and more people coming from countries all over the world,” he said. “In some places, we are just seeing more visitors that aren’t used to this style of toilet.”

Jia Wang, deputy director of the China Institute at the University of Alberta, said there are cultural differences in how toilets are used.

“It’s more of an Asia thing, but not just Asia,” she said. “A lot of other countries have this as well.”

Wang said seat toilets are becoming more common in homes in Asia, but squat toilets are still commonly used in public spaces.

“For a lot of people, their argument is: ‘I don’t find it sanitary to be sitting on the seat,’” she said.

Still, Wang said there’s no excuse for standing on a toilet seat.

“By offering alternatives or seat covers, some tourists would be more comfortable using it,” she said.

“It’s not like most people don’t know what to do with those toilets. It’s just that they are used to the other kind of toilets when they were growing up and, more likely, it’s because of the sanitary reasons.”

READ MORE: Okanagan Connector rest stop ‘piled high with you-know-what’

Officials with Parks Canada said they are considering toilet etiquette signs in other busy locations, including Lake Louise in Alberta’s Banff National Park, and have started adding more signs with pictures rather than words to better help tourists who don’t speak English or French.

The signs, said Wang, are fine as long as they are coming from a good place.

“We don’t want to be seen as discriminating,” she said. “It’s more like for your information.”

Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

UPDATED: Traffic incident on Highway 3 south of Fernie Alpine Resort

At approximately 3:00 pm on December 11, DriveBC reported an incident three… Continue reading

Fernie woman raising money for Angel Flight

One woman in the Elk Valley is doing her part to help… Continue reading

Weekend break in at Fernie Aquatic Centre

Early Saturday morning, Elk Valley RCMP officers responded to a break and… Continue reading

Celebrating winter heritage with Griz Days

Mark your calendars, start doing your snow dance and get ready for… Continue reading

Red Apple hosts kid’s shopping day

On Sunday December 1, Red Apple in Fernie opened its doors for… Continue reading

VIDEO: Octopus, bald eagle battle after bird ‘bites off more than it can chew’ in B.C. waters

B.C. crew films fight between the two feisty animals in Quatsino off north Vancouver Island

Raptors fans show Kawhi the love in his return to Toronto

Leonard receives championship ring, leads new club to win

Process to identify those killed in Gabriola plane crash could take days

Canadian flight museum suggests Alex Bahlsen of Mill Bay died in Tuesday’s crash

‘Honest mistake:’ RCMP says B.C. cannabis shop can keep image of infamous Mountie

Sam Steele wearing military, not RCMP uniform in image depicted in Jimmy’s Cannabis window

B.C. conservation officers put down fawn blinded by pellet gun on Vancouver Island

Young deer found near construction site in Hammond Bay area in Nanaimo, B.C.

Laid-off forest workers converge on B.C. legislature

Loggers call for action on strike, provincial stumpage

B.C. guide fined $2K in first conviction under new federal whale protection laws

Scott Babcock found guilty of approaching a North Pacific humpback whale at less than 100 metres

Feds urge Air Canada to fix booking problems as travel season approaches

The airline introduced the new reservation system more than three weeks ago

Almost 14,000 Canadians killed by opioids since 2016: new national study

17,000 people have been hospitalized for opioid-related poisoning

Most Read