I am ready to travel to someplace disability friendly and fun. I searched everywhere for a place that fit those criteria and since I really didn't want to travel to Europe, specifically Sweden (well known for it's accessibility standards), I looked around for some place relatively close. Toronto would be about six hours from me. It is Canada and all I need to get in is my passport, gas and of course money.
What initially attracted me to Toronto was an East meets West attitude as well as being a truly diverse city. I listened to a piece on NPR this morning that talked of the influx of South Asian films into the Toronto International Film Festival, a real departure from the European films. The article also focused on Indian film director Mira Nair. She is well known for films like Salaam Bombay, Monsoon Wedding, The Namesake and others. A mix of some Bollywood but with a real story of Indian roots. Wow, how cool is that?
Now, like many other persons with difficulty ambulating and having to pay attention to needs that go along with traveling, my search seems to go beyond just finding a place to go. But I am so fortunate that I don't need a mobility device constantly. I can walk short distances and have trouble walking if it's too hot.
So, what seemed feasible to me is driving and parking the car in whatever lodging we stay in. Then, we can focus on things in the area so that David can walk and I can scooter. I found a site that has scooter rentals in Toronto:
|Toronto scooter rerntal|
I never thought about renting a scooter before. And the prices are reasonable. I already have a scooter but it is not tough, meant mainly for indoor use. This makes me think of the streets and sidewalks, how wide are they? Easy to navigate a scooter in a walking city? But given the "inclusive" philosophy of Toronto I am sure getting around would not be a problem. Also, I just need to scooter to a place, park it and then walk in with my assitive device. I wonder what the sidewalks look like.
Of course these are pictures found in a random google search. But this gives me a good idea what things are probably like. There seems to be enough space for pedestrians as well as pedestrians with mobility devices. So, I can only hope this is really what things are like. Ok, now for what the city itself looks like -- some fun street scenes and the fashionable downtown area.
This blog had some nice cafe pictures and many of them are copyrighted so I am pasting the link here as the resource. Wow, these places seem really hip and fun to sit and eat, have a glass of wine. Interestingly, so many scenes have remenants of snow on the sidewalks but one can go during the summer months or the autumn when prices are considerably less.
|Agora Mediterranean Cafe|
So, all in all it seems doe-able. Of course it is not as easy as just going anywhere and hoping for the best! One has to plan particularly if one has a challenge. Toronto is expensive like any other city but with a bit of planning, things could work out well. But it is important to note as I found out that May through July is a heavy tourist season which is the summer time but if you pack warm clothes, parka and all, the autumn time from October through November is also pleasant and a lot cheeper. For people in my situation it might be easier when it's cooler but if I am not trying to ambulate I enjoy the sun and warmth as much as the next person! If I start planning, I might just make it -- maybe next year!
I know they have these virtual tours and trips for many people with disabilities but I really think the world is coming around and making environmental barriers less obtrusive for many of us who just want to enjoy places like any one else. Getting on public transportation might be hard for some time to come but even that is getting better in some places. Until it is a reality we just have to accomodate our respective situations. I can do that, I'm at least an expert in that area!