The absence of amenities in public and semi-public spaces is a form of defensive urban design. Amenities like benches, picnic tables and public washrooms are thought to facilitate loitering, encourage vandalism, and attract groups of "undesirable" people.
Unfortunately, the absence of amenities like benches and public washrooms can be a barrier for people who are elderly, people with disabilities, or people with a chronic illness from accessing public space. It also makes the city more hostile for everyone who is in need of rest and relief.
The noticeable lack of street furniture in Toronto prompted a response by a group of activists under the banner of #SitTO to advocate for more public seating in the city and in Ottawa, a campaign called GottaGo! was started to advocate for more public washrooms in the national capital.