A Brilliant Proposal

Nova Scotian architects and builders are designing and erecting quite a collection of memorable buildings that sparkle in the Nova Scotian landscape. They post photos of their projects, but most turn out to be residences, often located in beautiful but private settings, that I will never be able to see in real life. That’s why I was excited to notice on Instagram that architect Omar Gandhi showed a progress shot of the public washrooms his firm has designed as part of the wonderful accessibility project at Peggy’s Cove. More like this I say!


Soon after seeing the Peggys Cove washrooms, Fathom Studio posted a photo of swell, gender-neutral facilities they designed for Kejimkujik National Park.


This got me thinking. What if Nova Scotia could gain a reputation as the land of well-designed (and exquisitely maintained) public washrooms! So much international press. Such a message about what we consider important. Comfort & joy!

Is this even possible?

If you think that a collection of well-designed washrooms would not cause a stir, consider a village in Austria that got international acclaim for their architect-designed bus shelters.

Vorarlberg is a province in western Austria that takes modern architecture very seriously. When the town of Krumbach (about 1000 people, think Port Williams or Inverness) needed new bus shelters, they decided to invite a group of architects from around the world to visit and suggest designs. You can read the surprising story here.

We visited a couple of years ago and it was delightful to see these beautiful little interventions in a particularly charming landscape.

If we could be enchanted by bus shelters imagine the spell that could be cast by well-designed washrooms!


  • Nova Scotia already has a recognized commentator on public toilets who could help guide us to success.  See No Place to Go, the international best seller by our own Lezlie Lowe.

  • And if you scoff at visitors being interested in well-designed washrooms, consider Sheila and me as examples of architectural tourists. A few years ago when we were visiting British Columbia we specifically sought out the new public urinal in the bar district of Victoria.

I look forward to many years of posting the equivalent masterpieces of public service and cutting edge design from Nova Scotia.

About the author

Stephen Archibald

It’s Stephen Archibald doing the noticing. I’m a huge fan of Nova Scotia’s material culture and cultural landscapes. Twitter (@Cove17 ) made me realize I could share what attracted my attention (perfect for my very short attention) and I’m gratified when folks enjoy my content. Pleased to meet you on the internet.