There are lots of ways to travel around our city, but is everything accessible?
There are options for those in wheelchairs or requiring mobility support, but it's important to know what they are and where they are located.
The TTC has a number of accessible stations, for example, that have escalators and elevators to assist those that may not be able to use stairs. Although not every station is fully accessible just yet, just under half of them have elevators. To see if your local station has an elevator, check the full list of accessible locations on the TTC website. To travel around outside of stations, those that qualify can also request wheel-trans service.
There are also some concessions available for those requiring a support person when travelling. This past year, the TTC launched the Support Person Assistance Card program. This card - available by application only - allows a support person to ride free when accompanying someone with a temporary or permanent disability.
If you prefer to travel privately, there are some opportunities to book an accessible taxi, although these are not always readily available. Services will vary significantly from company to company, so it can be a challenge. It has become a big issue, however, particularly as Toronto gears up for the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games next year. Hopefully, there will be more improvements to report soon.
The PATH - the underground walkway linking much of downtown Toronto - is also another (mostly) accessible way to navigate parts of the city. Not all spots on the PATH have elevators, but there is signage indicating when stairways are ahead, and alternate routes, where available.
If you're thinking of travelling outside of Toronto by air, accessibility guidelines may vary from place to place, but there are a number of things that can be done at Pearson Airport.
These include curbside assistance for drop-off and pickup, as well as reserving porter service and a wheelchair for easier mobility. This can be useful for Torontonians at the airport, as well as for visitors.
Rob Wasdell, a traveller from the UK, described his time in Toronto while in a wheelchair in an article at Disability Horizons. He visited some well-known Canadian landmarks, including the CN Tower and the ROM, and talks about some of the accessibility issues he encountered.
Getting in and around Toronto with a disability will always be a work in progress, but hopefully, learning about some of the systems in place will help you or a friend get around just a little bit easier!