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Pandemic pushes Montrealers to gather in parks, but bathrooms are in short supply

·2 min read
Jarry Park in Montreal was full Saturday afternoon, and lines for the few bathrooms available were long. (Radio-Canada - image credit)
Jarry Park in Montreal was full Saturday afternoon, and lines for the few bathrooms available were long. (Radio-Canada - image credit)

Montrealers are heading to public parks in massive numbers as the pandemic restrictions prohibit home gatherings. But once they are out getting some fresh air with friends and family, there are limited places to go to the bathroom.

By Saturday evening, Jarry Park was brimming with more than a thousand people, but there was one only one building open with bathrooms as well as six chemical toilets.

While some people were willing to stand in line and wait for at least 30 minutes, others went off to find an inconspicuous spot to relieve themselves.

"With friends, we went to pee in nature," Sarah Denchetri told Radio-Canada while she was in Jarry Park on Saturday.

Things weren't much better at parks like Jeanne-Mance or Laurier, where demand for public bathrooms also outstripped supply.

Montreal spokesperson Philippe Sabourin said 140 portable chemical toilets have been added to parks around the city. He estimated parks are getting between seven and10 times the usual amount of visitors.

"We are still in the red zone. There are not many activities to do. We know that Montrealers like to go to their parks," Sabourin said.

Montreal spokesperson Philippe Sabourin said 140 portable chemical toilets have been added to parks around the city.
Montreal spokesperson Philippe Sabourin said 140 portable chemical toilets have been added to parks around the city.(Radio-Canada)

"Certainly there will be adjustments to be made in the coming weeks," he added, but things may change if the provincial government scales back restrictions.

"We will see how it will unfold in terms of the reopening of non-essential businesses, especially restaurants," he said.

In Quebec's red zones, outdoor gatherings of a maximum of eight people are allowed on condition that a mask is worn when the distance of two metres cannot be respected.

Gatherings on private property, be it inside or outside, remain prohibited. Police fined 75 people, for a total of $135,000, after breaking-up an illegal house party this weekend in Sainte-Beatrix, about 100 kilometres north of Montreal.