Readers respond to George Chow's urinal challenge

12th and Cambie

OK, here we go…

Last week in this space, I allowed former Vision city councillor George Chow to issue a challenge to readers to name the location of his favourite … urinal?

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I know, crazy stuff to be writing about.

But cut me some slack — every now and then, dear readers, we can all use a break from the heavy stuff going on out there. Apparently, many of you agreed; my email inbox was flush with responses.

So thank you for that.

The majority said the engineering marvel, which allows two men to simultaneously converse while heeding nature’s call, was located in the basement of the men’s washroom at the Heritage Hall at 15th & Main.

Some others said the same urinal could be found at the former Metropolitan Tabernacle (now the Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd) at Columbia and 11th.

One reader said he wasn’t entirely certain but recalls using said urinal “in the narthex” of St. Andrews-Wesley United Church at Burrard and Nelson.

That’s right — the narthex!

Great word, Stephen Pickett!

Some of the responses I received were just one-liners, telling me the location of the so-called Barrhead urinal (apparently, it’s a Scottish design). But others took time to write more than a few sentences and one reader used the subject line, “bromance urinal.”

Nicely done, Andrew Cheung!

Here are some of the responses that made me snort laugh…

From Robin Bougie: “I love it, because it’s clearly the vintage urinal that was installed when the building was built. It has, what they call in the antiques business, a ‘beautiful crackle’ on the porcelain glaze. If it wasn’t constantly covered in pee, it would probably get a lot more respect, but I love it all the same. I’ve visited it at least a half dozen times, and have always enjoyed the experience.”

From Bonita Jo Magee: “I believe this urinal is in the basement of the Heritage Hall on Main Street. Yes?”

Now, how the heck would a woman know where to find this gem?

Bonita’s reply:” The third time I was ever at the Heritage Hall, my boyfriend-at-the-time used the men’s washroom and promptly came running upstairs telling me I HAD TO go check out the urinals!”

And this from John Ross, whose meeting with the porcelain potty occurred at the church at Columbia and 11th: “This building used to host concerts by Early Music Vancouver and the urinal is in the basement men’s room. I’ve used it — mostly alone, however. I haven’t been there in several years. I’m hopeful that it’s still there. By the way, I met George Chow once. He’s much more intelligent than his former Vision colleagues.”

As I cover the lid on this piece of journalism gold and go back to writing about that important stuff in our city, I leave the last trickle to Mr. Chow himself, who emailed me from Hong Kong.

“I must check out the gem’s close cousin at 11th/Columbia first thing when I get home!”

Note: He also told me a story about having to use the water closet in the Guangzhou train station. No need to go into detail here but do feel free to use some of his words — mission, squat, pants and the 1960s — to let your mind wander.

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