A mockup of the existing and proposed plans for a washroom facility in Victoria. The proposed plans illustrate a renovation to create an all-gender, multi-stall washroom with shared sink area, and accessible single-occupancy washroom.

City of Victoria Park Washrooms Accessibility Audit


Victoria, BC

hcma worked with the City of Victoria to address the immediate and growing need for accessible and all-gender washrooms in Victoria parks. These washrooms are public spaces used by people from all backgrounds. They need to accommodate a range of abilities and circumstances among a full spectrum of people and their experiences.

Access to washrooms in the public realm is a challenge faced by many cities across the country. Here, the principles of equity and inclusivity are put to the test and applied in one of the most critical opportunities for urban design.

Yet, many of these facilities are small and overlooked, despite their opportunity for impact. Existing conditions, including cramped spaces, accessibility of internal layouts, and accessories, mean that they aren’t doing the job that they need to.

This project involved the creation of audit criteria and accessibility rating levels to assess 18 existing washroom buildings and their park contexts. Site, condition, paths of travel, internal layout, and sight lines were reviewed while also noting details about hardware, finishes, and accessories.

We used audit data to explore over 40 design concepts to explore improvements to the aging washroom building stock. The concepts prioritize accessibility, inclusivity, and harm reduction, clarifying a range of work that is possible to modernize and improve the state of these washrooms.

The design options will assist with current and future renovation decisions, from small-scale improvements like updating heights and accessories, to large-scale renovations. The work was fundamental to City Council motioning to implement a work plan that will address the barriers identified during the audit by the end of 2030.


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