One of the most exciting features of our new facility is its accessibility. For anyone who visited our former location, the steps taken toward accessibility will be clearly evident. We now have a lift that helps patrons move between floors, barrier free washrooms, and the main entrance is down a ramp straight from Queen Street. We are so proud to be a theatre where everyone can have an excellent experience and our staff are always on hand to help facilitate this. This should be the case everywhere, but unfortunately, it’s not.
This week NOW Magazine published an article by Alex Bulmer, a playwright and actor who is blind, detailing her experience booking a hotel room in Toronto. She was in town working on The Book of Judith, which we were presenting with Self Conscious Theatre Company and The Abilities Centre in Whitby. The show is about accessibility, telling the story of Judith Snow, an artist with quadriplegia. The performers are people with and without disabilities and the show spreads a message of inclusion, accessibility, and agency. It’s surprising then, that while working on this show, Alex experienced numerous setbacks while trying to book a hotel with her guide dog. Although her dog is not a pet, she was told she would have to pay a ”pet fee.” Alex’s experience illustrates the ignorance that is still prevalent when dealing with differently abled people. Not only is her experience contrary to human decency, but it’s also in breach of the Human Rights Code.
What Alex experienced is beyond embarrassing. She explains it best:
“Toronto will be hosting the Para-Pan Am Games next summer. Some 1,500 athletes with physical disabilities will be participating in 15 sports at the event.
And it’s high time Toronto got its act together and the facts straight: people who live with disability deserve to live in a society that respects their cultural practice, understands their access needs and, at the very least, delivers services in accordance with the provincial laws.”
Click here to read the rest of the article and please share it, so that we can move toward being a more aware and inclusive city.