Citytv reporter ditches Toronto for the more wheelchair-accessible streets of Calgary

Citytv reporter ditches Toronto for the more wheelchair-accessible streets of Calgary

Here’s a sad story from the heart of Toronto’s media: Tara Weber, a reporter for Citytv, is leaving Toronto and moving out west because this town is terrible for someone in a wheelchair to navigate.  Even when shops and restaurants themselves are accessible, things like a downstairs bathroom can make a night out a non-starter. So on her way out of town, Weber wrote a letter to David Miller and the five leading candidates to replace him, and in the process got the attention of Joe Warmington of the Sun.

“I’ve interviewed you all and have enjoyed meeting every one of you,” she wrote. “I just wanted to let you know that I’ve left my job and am leaving Toronto to go out west. A big part of my decision to leave is the lack of wheelchair access in this city. I’ve lived in various places throughout Canada and can honestly say Toronto is one of the least accessible.”

She also wrote “the majority of places in this city are not wheelchair accessible — bars, restaurants, transit stations, bathrooms and even stores.”

Tara is able to drive which is good because she tells me the TTC is useless to her.

A situation like this is bad enough for people who already have a rough time, and it’s worth pointing out—as groups like CARP have been—that mobility in this city isn’t going to be a problem for the minority for much longer: Toronto’s population is aging quickly, and an obstacle for a young person in a wheelchair is just as likely to be an obstacle for a senior with a walker. There was some recognition of this during the CARP debate last month, but then Rob Ford’s mug shot overshadowed the issue.

On Metro Morning, Weber slammed the city for not doing enough to update its buildings, saying that the only real policy seems to be to make sure Toronto keeps up with Ontario law and is accessible by about 2025 or so. Because nothing says “world-class metropolis” like taking decades to meet a legal minimum.

• Citytv reporter leaves T.O. — accessibility an issue [Toronto Sun]
• No Access [Metro Morning]