Toilet paper might be the saving grace of Montreal’s terrible roads, but there are other theories about this interesting phenomenon.
Montreal has turned commuting into a religious experience; I’ve never prayed more than for my car to stay intact when going over one of the city’s characteristic potholes. Driving on Montreal roads is an experience perhaps more wild than La Ronde roller coasters, but luckily, a sneaky solution is in the works, and might be saving our dire situation.
The first time I noticed it was on my very own street. I was driving home from a friend’s house, and was shocked to see what looked like toilet paper blowing in the wind, scattered like streamers. At first, I wondered if we had been the victim of a movie-esque teenage prank, but as time passed, I began to see that this phenomenon was not unique to my neighbourhood.
As any self-respecting journalist, I realized that it was my duty to figure out why toilet paper keeps littering our streets.
In recent times, toilet paper has gone from a hot topic for giggly nine-year-olds to a widely discussed product by adults. Unless you live under a rock, I’m sure you’ve heard about the toilet paper shortages that marked the first wave of the pandemic.
Experts consider this shortage to be a possible reason for toilet paper on the streets of Montreal. The toilet paper companies, delighted with the boom in business, began to overproduce, leaving them with a surplus that would literally take years to deplete. The companies then decided to donate the surplus to the government, who chose to decorate the streets with it, claiming that it would greatly contribute to “a lack of ambiance.”
“I’ve done my research on this,” said Ben Wexler, who presents a different theory. He’s a student at Dawson in Liberal Arts, so you know that what he says is legit. He explained that though there’s not a substantial coverage of this on mainstream media outlets, there are actually “fluffy aliens” who have heard about the toilet paper shortage on Earth. These aliens have seen us fighting over it, and worry that we’re going to “come up there and start using them as toilet paper because we don’t have enough.” Wexler says that they dropped the toilet paper down to Earth as a precaution against this frankly rational fear.
Oakley Griffin, an Honours English Literature student at Concordia, originally wondered whether this phenomenon was the “aftermath of some failed protest.” He’s discovered, however, that stuffing toilet paper in the cracks of the streets is supposed to help mend them. To this, he wonders “whose dad is in charge of fixing the roads,” as this stunt is reminiscent of his own father dealing with an ant infestation by killing them using duct tape.
“With a 3-ply roll of toilet paper, from Charmin, no less, you get the best results,” explained Randy Brandman Farber, a Montreal therapist, on how it helps fix the roads. She says that because of the high quality of the product used on the streets, she would have no hesitation “scraping it up” and bringing it into her home if there was another shortage.
Wexler echoes this sentiment, but for different reasons, citing that “it’s a gift from the aliens, and it would be rude not to.”
In addition, given that public restrooms are often closed in these tumultuous times, toilet paper on the roads provides an excellent solution in an emergency bathroom situation.
That being said, toilet paper might, in fact, be the saving grace of Montreal’s bumpy roads. Either way, its presence on the streets is a soft caress reminding us that though we might not be able to see our friends, at least it’s always got our backs… or better yet, behinds.
Feature graphic by Taylor Reddam