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Composting Toilet Project

The Dufferin Grove Park Bio Toilet

posted October 29, 2010

In the fall of 2005, Georgie Donais began talking to park users about combining a high-tech composting toilet with a low-tech cob building, with the goal of offering toilet facilities by the playground. Planned as a community-building project, the foundation was completed by volunteers with park program staff assistance during the summer of 2006. A private donor gave the park an $8000 "industrial-strength" bio-toilet. But controversy arose about the project, and building was halted while requirements were clarified and authorities were consulted. The revised plans as commissioned by the Parks branch would not allow a community-built structure, and to have the bio-toilet built by a contractor would have been prohibitively expensive. So the building of the Dufferin Grove Park bio-toilet was stalled. Then, in summer 2010, the Capital Projects section of Parks, Forestry and Recreation contracted a consultant to do a feasibility study, working with Georgie Donais, for reviving the project. Two public meetings are scheduled to discuss the consultant's proposals: November 8 and December 1.

The $8000 never-used donated bio-toilet is in storage and ready to install. If city councillors consider the standard price tag for a park toilet: $600,000 and the price tag for the Exhibition Place rainwater-flush-toilet pilot project (over $900,000) the bio-toilet seems a pretty good pilot project for public places where money is scarce but people still need a toilet.


Bio-toilets (modern composting toilets), of the sort that Georgie Donais got donated for Dufferin Grove Park, elicited some passionate opinions in this neighbourhood, on both sides...

Other Composting Toilets

There are by now quite a number in use in various places, including Vancouver, where a UBC building has relied on them since 1996

Picture Galleries

The bio-toilet site has been temporarily transformed into earthen bench seating and a conversation area.

Other activities:

Toronto Botanical Garden or the

Everdale Learning Centre here in Toronto or

City Repair and Natural Building Colloquium in the States


About, or mention of, the project in the press

Tempest in a Composting Toilet September 17, 2006

Our Composting toilet made it on a Home Depot flyer: here


click on the Archive and you will find the original material as well as the proposal presented to the first public meeting and a collection of answers to frequently asked questions.

Simon, Greg, Sarah and Silvie
are building a false floor
Problems And Follow up

Records of project maintenance dialog with the City

What is cob:

Cob is a building material made by mixing clay, sand, and straw by foot, and forming it by hand into walls.


Composting Toilet Project Funding, Vetting, and Support

Quick Cob Figures - Benefits of Cob


Click on picture to see more.
Or click here.
A real-life example: Natural Building Colloquium '08 finished project

Here (see the picture at right) is some inspiration from California, a bio-toilet project done through the Natural Building Network.

Hopefully, conversations in the Dufferin Grove Park playground this spring will lead to finding a solution, for installing the long-awaited playground toilet.

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