Sunday, September 28, 2014

Bathroom Sign Collection - The Red Tomato, Toronto

For a long time now, I've been fascinated with the interesting and creative ways that restaurants and other establishments depict men versus women on their bathroom signs.  So I've made a hobby of collecting photos of unique signs from washroom doors mostly found in my home city of Toronto, Canada, but also from my travels around the world.  I've also got friends and family on the lookout for me and they often send me photos of a good "bathroom opportunity" as I like to call it.   My bathroom sign photo collection spans back multiple years so unfortunately some of my best finds are now obsolete as the restaurants have since closed.  But new restaurants always open, and it is like a fun treasure hunt to be on the lookout for the next great discovery.

The hobby of bathroom sign photography is more challenging and even danger-prone than one might think.  Many washrooms are located in dark narrow hallways where it is difficult to get at the right angle or achieve the proper lighting for a good photo.  Using flash often makes it worse since you get a big glare spot that obscures part of the photo.  And you want to be quick about it or else you get weird looks from the waiters or other patrons, especially if you catch one of them coming out of the washroom as you snap the photo.

A well-thought-out set of bathroom signs not only add charm and whimsy to an establishment, but can also be used to promote the company brand.  The brilliant images from the washroom doors of the Italian restaurant The Red Tomato visually reinforces the name of the restaurant, and doesn't even need words to differentiate the "men" vs "women".

The Red Tomato
321 King St W, Toronto

I will be adding my current collection to this blog and then will continue to add more as I find them.  If anyone has some cute examples that they would like me to include in my blog, please send them to with details of what establishment and city it came from.

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