Karen Bourne in her backyard, an Oak Bay oasis of enamel. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Oak Bay toilet garden brings relief in a time of stress

Rainbow of toilets treats visitors to Oak Bay path

For the last decade, visitors on a narrow path between Mountjoy and Falkland roads in South Oak Bay have witnessed an enamel oasis like no other.

The gravel pathway is charming in itself with a ceiling of branches on one end that neighbour Tom Bourne regularly clips, creating a tunnel effect about four metres long. Next to the tunnel is the Bournes’ garden, where Tom and Karen keep two dozen toilets recycled into garden planters.

The toilets come in a rainbow of colours and are an icebreaker for conversation. In fact, they’ve even become a destination, Karen said.

READ MORE: Cyclists surprised to find Oak Bay paths don’t exist

“A lot of people tell us they’ve never seen anything like it,” Karen said. “Walking groups make it a destination, gardeners will knock on the door, and people will ask if we need a toilet.”

The answer right now is no, they have enough toilets, thank you.

“Unless it’s a real bright red,” Karen said, “but I don’t think we’re going to find one.”

If either of the Bournes are in the yard, they’ll likely end up in a chat with the curious who pass by. All but one of the toilets has had the tank removed. Each has a drip line to automatically water the plants.

“Right now they look pretty crummy, or as I could say, ‘pretty crappy,’” Karen said, noting they are due for their spring cleanup.

READ ALSO: Victoria-based artist takes home prestigious art prize

After 21 years in the house, Tom has set up plenty of vintage items and signs in the yard. Passersby will notice signs from Fort St. John, and even Alaska. Some he collected up north and others he scored at local auctions and swap meets.

The toilet collection has been there for about 10 years. The newest addition is a sign saying, ‘Sorry out of toilet paper,’ a cheeky nod to the mysterious toilet paper panic.

“The joke is we don’t need toilet paper, there are three bidets,” Karen said.

Credit for the collection goes to Tom, who tries to find homes for old items.

“It means they are recycled and I’m not buying imported pots instead,” Tom said.

reporter@oakbaynews.com

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Undercover operation exposes prominent human trafficking problem in Greater Victoria

VicPD’s Operation No More took place in mid-June at a local hotel

Stelly’s grads shocked after ‘anonymous friend’ pays for dinner

Friends took limo to Deep Cove Chalet to celebrate after graduation festivities cancelled

Saanich serves up virtual Strawberry Festival

Residents invited to look back on 54 years of festivals

PHOTOS: Dual rallies take over Legislature lawn on Canada Day

Resist Canada 153 highlighted colonization and genocide, Unify the People called COVID a hoax

VicPD investigating possible hate crime on BC Transit bus

A young Black man was randomly struck by a Caucasian man who he did not know

‘This year is unlike any other’: Trudeau delivers Canada day address

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and the Prime Minister release video celebrating the national holiday

Gov. General honours Canadians for bravery, volunteer service

Five categories of winners presented on Canada Day

COVID-19: Should non-medical masks be mandatory in Canada?

New poll shows Canadians are divided on the rules around mandatory masks

‘A little bit scary for everybody’: Air passengers wary as new rules take effect

Masks or face coverings have been mandatory on flights since April 20

Library’s Summer Reading Club goes virtual

This literacy program is usually offered in person

VIDEO: Prince William and Kate chat with B.C. hospital staff about COVID-19

Seven-minute video posted to Youtube on Canada Day

River centre says heavy rains could bring flooding to central, northeastern B.C.

Water levels are already unusually high and river banks can be extremely unstable

Campbell River’s defunct cruise ship terminal to undergo evaluation for future plans

With no cruise ship coming through, the $16million terminal has been a white elephant for over 13 years

Most Read