by Emily Dressler

Hello from Canal Place, again. I’ve been here all month. It’s OK — it’s a city within a city and all my bathroom needs are being met. (OK, so maybe I haven’t been here all month, but I do keep ending up here.)

This month’s outing to CP, as I call it now, was so that I could shop at Crafty Mart at the Bounce Innovation Hub. Bounce Innovation Hub comprises 27,000 square feet out of the gazillion square feet at CP. Technically, I guess I’m reviewing the bathroom at Bounce Innovation Hub/Canal Place/Crafty Mart all in one review.

Surely there are more bathrooms at Bounce than the two offered to the public during Crafty Mart. But this review focuses on the women’s room on the third floor. The women’s room, with its exposed pipe and feeling of abandonment, is what you should expect from an old industrial factory. I have a lot of faith in Crafty Mart and Bounce, and I am optimistic that the bathrooms will evolve.

Currently, the third-floor women’s room has a lot of gorgeous natural light and high ceilings. There are three stalls, one of which is large and would accommodate a person with a wheelchair, walker, or stroller. There are two sinks and soap dispensers, along with a non-working paper towel dispenser. There were two giant rolls of paper towels and some toilet paper above the sinks. 

The hand dryers are against the wall across from the sinks, which is where people wait in line for open stalls. I love walking toward a wall of people, my wet hands held out in front of me like I’m in a slippery game of red rover. 

The bathroom seems like it could be difficult to navigate if you had limited mobility. The larger stall may seem accessible, but there are still issues to tackle before this bathroom can be used by all.

The thing with CP is that there is a lot of space. Even the corners and hallways are massive. With space comes opportunity, I always say, and when “innovation” is in your name, the opportunity for bathroom innovation should be your most eager endeavor. 

Here’s what I think: The bathrooms at Bounce, and everywhere, should be a bunch of single-use toilet rooms with actual doors and walls. These can be used by all sexes, genders and abilities. A large common room with sinks, mirrors, et al just outside of the single-use toilet rooms would be for handwashing, general preening, and complimenting someone’s sweater in a non-threatening way. This room would also be used by all sexes, genders and abilities. This should be the wave of the future, and there’s no reason Akron bathrooms shouldn’t be leaders in this regard.

As one of Akron’s un-official Public Restroom Bosses (still working on the title), I say we put this bathroom idea in our city charter, and if not there, then at least in Canal Place. 

The bathrooms at CP are not yet working up to their potential. Because they could do better and they know it, they get a 2 out of 5. 

Photo at top: My sister asked to be identified as “nameless girl fixing her hair,” so okay.

Editor’s note: Rosalie Murphy here! The bathrooms in The Generator, Bounce’s first-floor coworking space, are among my favorites in the city. They are all gender-neutral single-person bathrooms, meaning each one has a toilet and sink inside. Each has unique tile and wallpaper. And they each include a basket of tampons and pads in one corner. 5/5. 

Emily Dressler has been one of Akron’s unofficial Public Restroom Bosses since 2015 (or whatever year Marissa puts down. I can never remember, and I usually just copy hers.)

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