This week I’m coming to you live from Morinville, Alberta snuggled around the fire with the aunts and uncles. It’s not as frosty as liquid nitrogen here, but at -30°C my body might as well be experiencing the final round of a Japanese game show.
At least we have each other, right?
While my body keeps warm in Morinville, my mind is still on Toronto and this new initiative that has been slowly cropping up around town…
It’s called Accessible Toronto and businesses, restraunts, clubs and pubs have just began sporting their “Accessible Toronto Certified!” stickers on their doors. Basically, it’s a website and online community whose administration and membership have started rating places around the city on accessibility.
Now you can look up business and check out the “Wheelcool” rating. It’s the lamest name, but the higher the rating, the more accessible the location. The site also centralizes other info any disabled person should need (like the process and contact number for booking Wheeltrans). The site claims to be the first of its kind in Canada and was started by an enterprising Torontonian named Chris Karatsoreos It’s a typical story: Guy acquires a disability and finds there is a woeful lack of accessibility information in his city, but this guy actually decided to do something about it (I know, right?). He even has designs on taking his little project national.
This thing just started (yet another disability initiative in its infancy, hopefully it gets past the starting gate), but there’s one promising glimmer — it’s set to at least make money through advertising and sponsors people with disabilities would be interested in. There aren’t a lot of real locations (or advertisers for that matter) and their forum membership includes five people, including the administrator, but at least this dude has chutzpah and isn’t just starting his sentences with, “Wouldn’t it be cool if…”
So check it out and phone them with more business to audit because we already know the city won’t do it.
Aaron is a freelance journalist living in Toronto. His work has appeared in Financial Post Business, Investment Executive Newspaper, and TV Week Magazine, along with Askmen.com. He is a regular contributor to Abilities Magazine and is currently plotting a weekly web comic called GIMP, with artist Jon Duguay, about a handicap school bus driver who wakes up after a crash to find he’s the last able-bodied person on earth — and he’s being hunted.