My life currently, as a disabled person.

Our problems began when we first moved here in 2014. The balcony on our second-floor unit was not maintained or cleaned. As a result, the wood surface was slick (likely with moss), offering no traction. The maintenance staff were aware of this as I was warned to be careful about the slickness, he said was a problem with the wood patios but it was too late I slipped on this surface, injuring my legs and rapidly losing my mobility.

The balcony surface was finally power washed six weeks later.

To limit stair use, we requested and were transferred to the second available unit in February 2015. This is where we currently reside. While the coordinator was well aware of our request and need, she let the first unit go without considering us. Since then, my mobility diminished to the point where I require a wheelchair to move any great distances. We have been offered accessible accommodations within the main building (the tower), however….there are several issues with this plan.

Moving in, we were aware of some reports of bedbug infestations. We quickly learned of the scale of the problem, and I have been hearing about bedbugs as recently as 2018. This was only one of the issues. The tower has a reputation for being noisy and I understand that many members hope to escape out to the King Street units to avoid constant disturbances. Lastly, most of the accessible suites are ONE bedroom, 3 of us currently reside in a two bedroom, moving us to the tower would have, most likely, split us up and indeed that was their original intention. Collectively, we’d be paying for two units, instead of one.

At present, we have a ramp at our back door. We finally got an accessible door in 2019, while a neighbour gave us a wooden ramp for the door in 2015. After a request and a bit of struggle, an actuator was installed on the door of the main building and room where the elevator was and this had given me access to the main building. From there I had been able to use a very small accessibility elevator to leave the property. We have asked that a ramp be considered from the area called the podium. This is a raised area over the parking garage, around which, the King Street buildings are placed. This ramp would offer access directly to King Street. As the ramp would encroach on city property, little became of this.

Recently, a social worker from the London InterCommunity Health Centre became involved, this worker was able to jump-start the ramp idea with the coordinator. It quickly became clear that a variance could be obtained and funding could be sourced. This could make the ramp a viable project, but we have been given very little information on progress. As a matter of fact the last we heard, they might try hardship to avoid putting in a ramp.

In July 2018, we were forced from our home, due to a fire. This fire, which made 12 families homeless, was a result of careless smoking. Four units were fully involved, while ours received water and smoke damage. Thieves took advantage of the situation, removing an estimated $20.00 of copper water pipe. As the result, we were holed up in a hotel, waiting to go home before our insurance money ran out. At least, this time, Tolpuddle was as much in the dark as we were.

During this time I had been trapped in elevators three times, this exacerbated the claustrophobia I suffered from, and now I suffer panic attacks whenever I even think about trying to ride in an elevator. As a result, I have become a shut in, and have not been outside since August of 2019.

After four months, we were finally able to return. As other units were occupied or reoccupied, we started to notice new problems. Secondhand smoke became very noticeable. At first, we tried to adapt by using fans in the winter and two air conditioners in the summer. An air purifier was purchased as well. Our requests for reasonable enjoyment of our unit and health issues to the office and the board have been, and continue to be minimized, dismissed or ignored, outright. At most, the board engages in victim-blaming, offering no solutions for us to deal with a problem caused by someone else.

The first attempt to discuss a smoking by-law was met with hostility. To date, every argument against such a bylaw always circles back to selfish self-entitlement. Those opposed to the by-law demand that they have a right to smoke at home with a total disregard for anyone else’s rights.

While this is going on, a transfer from the tower brought a cockroach infestation to our building. Baiting and traps seem to be keeping it under control, and we have not seen any signs since late in 2020.

As for smoking, our complaints are dismissed, since we have no specific by-law, and the board is unwilling to employ applicable by-laws (the aforementioned reasonable enjoyment of unit). Secondhand smoke is a constant problem now. We have an occupancy by-law that could address the matter, but either the coordinator or the board refuses to consider it. In October 2019, we forwarded a letter from our doctor. This letter outlined the health risks I face, due to secondhand smoke because I have asthma and a extreme sensitivity to scents and tobacco. The best the board could do was offer us a transfer from our unit to another smoke contaminated unit. Given my issues with elevators, I’d be trapped in the tower and still forced to smoke. There is NO place in this co op where smoking is not permitted. T

In November 2019, we provided a survey, regarding smoking and a by-law. The coordinator had assured me that it would be used, to date, this survey has not been sent out.

At present, we have no right to enjoy our unit, we are forced to smoke when our neighbours do. If our neighbour smokes on their patio or balcony, we cannot use our patio or open a window. If our neighbour smokes inside their unit, smoke seeps through the walls and ceiling and contaminates our home. This imposes an unreasonable hardship on our family. This fact is ignored by the coordinator and the board.

To date, smoking has caused at least five fires that the board is forced to admit to.

In August, of 2020, the idea of a smoking by-law was finally floated. We are under no illusions as to why, July 2018, and August 2020, fires were caused by smoking. In both cases, the responsible party was uninsured. The July 2018 fire caused over $800 000 in damage and caused one insurance company to withdraw. I’m not sure of the damage total for the August 2020’s fire. I am confident that financial considerations are the motivation behind the by-law, not the health considerations.

Even so, some board members resisted the by-law, they kept trying to hold off citing a need for a focus group, or more research. As mentioned before, self-entitlement fuelled every argument against the by-law (By-Law 17).

The dispute over By-Law 17, caused at least one resignation from the board of directors. The matter was finally put to a virtual general members’ meeting on November 30, 2020.

When finally called to a vote, support for By-Law 17 was obvious, and the motion was passed 24 to 12 with four members abstaining. By-Law 147 would take effect as of December 1st, 2020. We had thought it was over. Shortly after, questionable complaint was raised.

Two members claimed that they could view and hear the meeting, but were unable to vote. Instead of attempting to contact the on-site coordinator, these two members opted to wait until the day after. The following day they were able to complain and defy the majority. Of course, we are still forced to smoke at our neighbours’ pleasure. We are also left wondering if the Covid 19 by law was also passed considering it was a part of the SAME meeting and voted on right after the no smoking by law. If the same issues were of concern, then it wouldn’t be a bylaw and enforcable either, except it wasn’t mentioned on the notice we received. This leaves us to wonder if it was simply a matter of trying to undo a smoking by law that was in fact legally voted on.

As it stands now, the board of directors has requested a third-party investigation but will offer no details. We cannot even get a timetable on how long the board is willing to let us suffer.

Using fans, air conditioners and an air purifier has resulted in increased costs. The second AC and the air purifier, itself were costly. The air purifier requires filters. Our costs are now up, due to increased electricity use and higher insurance premiums because of the fire in 2018.

Replacement filters: $101.68/year as of November 2020
Hydro use: up 40%
Insurance: up 28%

I wish I had never moved here. I feel that this experience has left me with a negative impression of living in a Co Op where I feel like we have LESS rights than we would if we were tenants in an ordinary apartment building. Co ops have a possbility to serve the needs of friends and board members rather than the needs of the residents of the co op. Rules in our co op are not adhered to, nothing is done when bylaws are disobeyed leaving me with ZERO confidence in the board OR co ops in general.

As much as I would like to move, housing for disabled people in wheelchairs doesn’t seem to be a priority with the government and we are left to wait for years on end to find a remedy to our situation, often we have to wait for the death of another disabled person in order to gain accomodation. Would anyone else in my situation want to hope for the death of another so you can live your life as independently and healthy as you can? I don’t choose to think so.

This is MY reality. My frustration and my weariness at begging for the same rights as others enjoy, given rude treatment by staff and a board of directors who seem disinterested in anything but their own needs and wants. I’m exhausted.



Welcome to Old East Village…the place where most of the time I just wait.

I stopped writing for a while, probably because I keep letting other things get in the way. It could also be that I am exhausted from trying to fight, and feel like a complainer when I say that there are problems in my City. It’s why I took so long to write about Old East Village…the place where I live, and where I most of the time…just wait outside.

I am a resident in this community, but most of the time I don’t feel like a member OF this community, it has to do with the accessibility and the frustrations of having struggles with accessibility here. To be fair a lot of the buildings in the area are from “time gone by”, old buildings with inaccessible steps or narrow doorways. These places feel like a forbidden land to me since I can’t get in through the doors or up the stairs, and perhaps are reasons why accessible front entrances don’t happen. If this is the case it will always be a source of frustration for mobility impaired people like me because if no one is allowed to change the store fronts then they will always be barriers. History before people I suppose.

In OEV as it is affectionately called, the ability to access places is the exception not the norm.  There are the rare places that I can easily get into, Maymo’s (since it’s actually an outside shop, not an indoor one). The Western Fair Casino and Raceway along with the restaurant are also accessible…however it’s difficult to get around in the Farmer’s Market.  It starts with doorways that are a bit narrow and no actuators to make it easy to open the doors and gain entrance to the place, and continues inside where it’s very crowded and you spend a lot of time waiting for others to finish before you can get a turn. You also have the added problem of the upstairs level which is accessible only by one very small elevator and if it out of order then you have no access at all. There is a “handicap” bathroom, though I don’t like the word HANDICAP being used to describe a facility that is used by me and anyone with a baby buggy.  Handicap to me is an awful and outdated word to describe someone who relies on a wheelchair.It’s an older building so I do try to forgive them for not having the facilities needed for those who have needs.

Even my own doctor’s office is not entirely accessible. There is an actuator on the door, but the doorways to the treatment rooms are not large enough for my wheelchair to get in. I am partially mobility impaired so I can walk a bit and I do, leaving the chair outside in the hallway, but I wonder about those clients who are completely reliant on their devices. I hope that when they finally get their remodeling started this problem will be cleared up and have fingers crossed that the day will be soon.

Almost every shop in the village has the old sized front doorways, the ones where even if your door is right flat on the ground, your chair can’t get past. I don’t know what the experience of a normal chair user is, but for my chair with it’s 3-5 extra inches of width, it’s just impossible, I don’t want to destroy someone’s door, and I don’t want to damage my chair either.  So instead….my husband or daughter go inside, and I wait…outside. I wait in all weathers because I like getting out of my house once in a while and well, there is just no other way.  Some shops I can see in the front window so if there is something of interest inside my husband will either bring it to the window or he’ll bring me a photograph so I can see if the item will suit what I’m looking for.  These shops have been here for quite a while, and I suppose they don’t qualify under the accessibility law? Some of the shops are thrift type stores so the items are arranged inside in such a way that it is impossible to get a chair down the aisle and I’d be more likely to damage something trying to shop inside.

One “grocery store” in the area it’s really just a large variety store with a bit of a dollar store on one side, is relatively accessible. The staff are nice but again, no actuator on a door means no independent access to the place. In summer one of the doors is usually open for cooling, but in winter, it’s come with someone or don’t come at all. On the whole though it is a much better solution than the new grocery store is.

The Old East Village Grocer. Praises are being sung to the ceiling about this grocery store. Both in the OEV Facebook group and by many organizations around London. Yes it’s a grocery store in our area finally (some prices are a bit high for lower income but that is a reality). The big problem is…accessibility. Ironically this store is for training disabled employees to find work. They have a ramp at the front entrance, which is a plus. It’s a bit steep but not something that can’t be lived with, there is an actuator for the front door, check again. Then you enter and there are stairs. To the right is an elevator they had installed. The problem is, the elevator is a small box, and in order to get in you have to TURN your wheelchair or scooter to enter it. That is where the problem lies. It’s not wide enough for a chair of my width, way too tight a squeeze and if my controls are off, I could easily do some damage. Then there are the scooter users. They can’t use this elevator at all. Instead they leave their scooter outside, and can use one of the many wheelchairs they have upstairs inside, as well as have someone help them shop. This is hardly a solution for someone in a wheelchair, since I don’t think anyone would want to leave their chair outside untended and hope that it will still be there when you exit the building, and then there is the real fact that some simply can’t leave their chairs, and some shouldn’t but to date this elevator has been “it”. Nothing has been done, they know the problem exists but are content to just leave it, I guess as long as the “word of the law” is covered, they don’t actually have to make it accessible to everyone. Just “some”.

They do have a nice accessible point of sale device though.

There are many new businesses, but unlike this one, they didn’t even really try to make things accessible. So Inviting, is a new shop that makes dumplings etc, everyone in the neighborhood raves about them online, but I’ve never been in their shop. The whole building was remodeled and rebuilt inside and out, but instead of a ramp, there is a step, inside there are stairs. But if I sit outside long enough someone will come out to serve me, which does me little good since I don’t know what is for sale (unless they have a sign on their window for people like me?).  The Pickle is a new Social Club that opened next door, they also remodeled inside and out, but the door still seems too narrow and there is a step there that wasn’t before. They are looking at getting a ramp, but when I asked how wide the door was, an important question for those of us with wheelchairs or scooters…I have as yet received no reply.  I can only assume these two linked businesses whose building was completely redone simply had an oversight when it came to addressing the AODA code for accessibility, or is it that no one, not even our city counselor cares. I can almost believe the latter since I asked during last winter why the sidewalk in front of our building was not plowed (the co op has MANY mobility impaired folk living in it) and I received NO answer.

Then there is the EVAC they moved from where they once had space to a new place a few doors down. It was difficult to access in the first place, but when they moved THIS is their accessibility.


I’m not sure what to think of this, I’m not an expert, but it frightens me. I don’t like the idea of going up two mini ramps anymore than I’d like the idea of going up a single ramp with a huge incline. I’m not sure if anyone has used this ramp but I know I wouldn’t, I don’t trust the weight of my chair plus me on it. It pays service to the law again, but is it really safe? I haven’t been back since this photograph was taken so I’m not sure if this is still the ramp being used, but I can only hope not.

These are just a few of the challenges encountered in my area. There are more, I’m just too frustrated to even bother listing them.

If you can’t serve me now you won’t serve me later either

So, I decided that I should probably blog again, it’s been a while and between being sick and trying to keep doing my physiotherapy I’ve been crunched for time.

This time I thought I’d just write about why I sent that tweet a few weeks ago about restaurants and how I’ve decided that if they are not prepared to have me in their shop now I won’t be going in when I get some of my mobility back.

There are a lot of restaurants in this city, and a LOT in the core of my city, many of them are not accessible which I fail to understand…do those of us with disabilities not go out to eat? do we not eat at all? I don’t know what the logic is but despite the attempts to try to figure things out I have failed to come to a conclusion about it except to say I guess they really don’t care or just figure that the bare minimum of compliance is all that is required. Perhaps they don’t realize what would be needed to make their places accessible, I’d really like to believe that it is the reason for not being able to attend any restaurant I want, but rather that I have to scout them all out and then see if I can pick one.

The frustration I experience can leave me tired and saddened as I think about some of the places I used to go and some of the places I’ve wanted to go to but are now out of bounds. I also get angry and hate that I have been put in this position when in fact I should be allowed to attend their restaurant in the first place. I didn’t surrender my human card when I got a chair.

I wonder if they realize just how left out it feels to know that you can’t get into a place of business. It’s almost like when you get picked last for a team and you know no one wants you but you still want to be considered all the same.

Some make you feel like you are asking for too much or don’t belong in their establishment just by the way they look at you impatiently as if they hope you’ll just get tired of waiting and leave. Some even manage to look a bit embarrassed when they realize just how much of a problem it can be to go out to dinner and not have a place at the table (sometimes only after waiting an hour for a table to open).

Some are “marginally okay” some are outright impossible. Perhaps I should do a photo feature on the restaurant scene in the City of London, Ontario Canada so that other mobility and disabled customers like me will have a “data base” of what restaurants to avoid and what ones would be more than happy to have someone like me come and visit.

Anyone have any feedback to offer me? I’d love to know if you want to see pictures and/or have a small compilation on where you can go in the core to eat if you can’t easily get around.

Adelaide and Huron

Strip Plazas on Adelaide St N and Huron.

When I don’t have money I don’t tend to go out much, so I have not checked out the Wendy’s nor the new location for Tim Horton’s yet.

There is a Pet Store, bank, FreshCo and various other shops along the strip. I didn’t visit every store but I have visited enough to know which are difficult and which are great.

The store Pet Paradise, ranks among the difficult. It’s hard to get in without actuators and there are TWO doors to get inside the pet store. It is very frustrating and makes me both happy to have someone along with me to make it easier to get in, and yet angry because it would be nice to have the freedom to do things on my OWN. Once inside it can be hard to get around because the shop has very narrow aisles and sometimes there are displays that crowd the way. For someone with vision issues it could be frustrating to navigate, so be glad that the staff is friendly.

They also have garden hoses out it seems every time I go there, so I can’t visit the fish department at all.


FreshCo. the anchor grocery store in this strip mall it is a nice sized store. One of the few complaints I would have is the entryway which has “flippers” at the front I assume so people can’t exit through the entrance. They are a real nuisance for a chair to go through especially if they are set so that the same hand you use to power your chair is the same hand you need to move the flippers. I’d love to see a push button flipper mover on the entrance side but I doubt that it will happen given the need to protect the store from shortages. I did ask the Manager while I was there if they could do something to fix up the bathroom, I haven’t been back in a while and can only hope they have taken my advice to heart. When I was there last the door was heavy to push, required me to use the same hand as my chair control is set on, and opened inward which in some ways is more awkward than if I had to pull it open.  They also had garbage cans too close to the toilet which would create a problem for those who require a transfer. (Keep your fingers crossed).  The only other complaint I’d have is the laneways. A large number of grocery stores I have been in seem to have only one real lane that a wheelchair can easily navigate down. It’s sad that we have to sit in line with customers just to leave their store should we not find what we need or in my case should I wish to get to the other side and bag the items for my husband.  I hope that eventually they figure out that a bit wider would be nice for laneways, but again I guess it’s a matter of “store security” over customer service.

Accessing the actual mall is a bit on the tricky side, especially from Huron St coming from Adelaide. The walkways are narrow, a bit angular towards the road and it ends with you having to “gallop” across the driveway to either the bank or the end of the mall. Since this is right on top of an entrance for cars and a parking space for bank customers it’s not really an ideal situation.On the opposite side of the mall one has to make for the Beer store and then follow the path all the way down and around to the end of the KFC.


All in all I hardly go to these shops and I think I have to say that between lousy bus service (this bus is habitually busy with strollers), and not so great ways to get around on sidewalks it’s just not high on my “to do” list.

I may have my husband take a few photos of the road from the East side of Adelaide to the west since there are some “issues” that exist there, including holes in the road (where one time in a push chair my husband got a caster stuck) it was a frightening experience, and a light pole in the middle of the sidewalk.

There are shops along the way heading up to Cheapside where Metro is, but since I don’t frequent them much I haven’t yet bothered to chat about them.

I’ll do Oxbury Mall sometime when I can get more pictures of the mall, last time we were in a wee bit of a hurry.

Argyle Mall (part 2) Restaurants I think…

Yesterday I shared information about sidewalks, roads and shops….today I finish off Argyle with restaurants. Now there are a lot of restaurants out there and I couldn’t do all of them, a few restaurants that are privately owned that I passed by had no actuators for doors, and sidewalks that would be too narrow to back up on to open a door. Very disappointing,  but I think these “big name fast food” ones should be more than enough to give you some idea of what they think about having to provide accessibility. (or at least what the owners of these franchises think)

A is for A&W

It’s in a decent enough location, and the approach is easy enough to take. They even have a nice parking area with the ramp set to the side not in front of the parking space, but *sigh* there were no actuators on the doors.


One photo shows how much space a wheelchair has to try to back up and pull the door open. I have short arms so I have to be practically on top of a door when I open it and it would leave me trying to not fall off the sidewalk while trying to open a door.  The inside door is no better, set on an angle I feel is just too tight to expect a wheelchair or scooter to navigate. Their front door, around the building isn’t much better, no actuator there either and it opens on the right. I have no idea which door I should use (should I follow the blue striped road?) but I opted for neither and left them.


B is for Burger King

Close to Dundas and Clarke Road and the bus stop in Argyle.  Problem is, if you are coming from Clarke Road you will have to drive all the way up and around the restaurant to get to the door. When you reach the end of the long sidewalk, you have to leave the sidewalk and take the road. Sadly there is a bush in the way so it is very difficult to see cars, and for cars to see you. After you get around them as you turn the corner and head into the “home stretch” you have to go by the drive through. There are blind spots there as well, I can’t tell if there is a car at the window and they can’t tell I’m there either.

They do have accessible parking, with a nice side ramp. They also have actuators on their doors. The problem is that the door is very narrow and when we said something to one of the staff outside, they said “you could just open the latches on the other door you know”. If I was paralysed I would have to reach up about 2 feet to get the upper and then down to the ground to get a lower one? Not likely and service dogs do not have fingers or thumbs. Oh and then what, push actuator, and try to pull a door while driving in? Oh wait I can’t do that I need the door open to get the latches and by that time the door will have shut on my chair. Inside door has an actuator as well but it’s tight going again and closes so fast you can’t even get lined up.

The debit machine is fixed in place and set back from the edge so no reach there. I didn’t even bother with the bathrooms since the corridor was so small I figured I’d just get stuck there, and if I had to open a door the wrong way it would be useless to bother.  Another “feature” of this place is the seating. There isn’t a really designated place, there is one table with only one chair but it’s a bit small to cramp into if you are with someone. It’s also in the bright sun and getting to it can be a bit of a nightmare.




E is for East Side Marios


Again I didn’t get a chance to go in, but from what I saw outside, the parking is accessible but the ramp is again at the front of the car, unless you want to go around to the door way ramp.  Easy to  spot actuators are a nice touch. I will someday have to visit them, if I have the time and money to do so.


H is for Harvey’s

Their burgers may be a beautiful thing but their accessibility here was not. I appreciate that they have a spot to park and a ramp but there are no actuators on the door and again the sidewalk is VERY narrow.  I may have to reconsider getting lessons from and escape artist if this continues much longer. Nothing about the inside, I didn’t want to juggle around to get in, I also call it, “not willing to go to that much trouble thanks”.


M is for McDonald’s (not the one in Walmart)

I am truly thankful that I don’t like their food, because this location is a pain. To start with, they have only one ramp to get onto their sidewalk to access the entrance. It’s on the side with the drive through…how thoughtful, would you like a side of fries with your bumper?  You also have to cross this drive through to get to it from a car….on “foot” you’d have to go past the restaurant, through their driveway and access it by driving back on it. I find it so sweet that they actually thought to put a speed bump at the biped entrance but at the wheelchair end nope, I guess it’s because they should be driving slow since they just got their goods and were at a complete stop when they did. (though I have seen some drivers accelerate like crazy out of places like these).  There is an actuator on the door on this side, miracles can happen but I didn’t feel like driving all over the place and in parking lots for terrible food. (sorry McD lovers).

W is for Wendy’s

I have been in this one, just not on this day. To start with, there is an accessible way from the sidewalk to the door. They also have a ramp near the parking…oh look it’s not in front of the car. The door is hidden towards the back.  To me it’s the most “un obvious” place for a door and if you are visually impaired you’ll probably be feeling around for it for a while.  There is a door on the other side as well but this side is the only one with actuators. When I was there last they weren’t working but my daughter was with me.  Finding a place to sit can be a bit challenging but at least I can sit at the table if a chair is removed. I didn’t have too many problems with getting the condiments either. The only other problem I could see would be the lining up, since it’s a “roped in type” of affair with bars instead of ropes so tight turns are a bit difficult.


As a shout out I just wanted to mention this private place called “Meat Heads”. I didn’t try their ramp because I don’t like ramps with thresholds…too much can go wrong, so I didn’t go up to the door I just figured I’d give them half marks for trying to make a ramp, I wouldn’t want to drive up it in winter …I have a wood ramp and they get very slippery in rain and snow….but kudos for trying harder than your counterparts who should have lots of money to spare for a few “luxuries” like accessibility seems to be. I also am very disappointed that for the visually impaired ANY of these restaurants could be a difficult to navigate experience.


I think as you read along in the next few days or weeks (depending on my time), you’ll find that I report again on the same companies, but…some of them actually get at least SOME of it right. I’d love to tell the Head Office to have everyone get together and share all the “rights” and remove the wrongs but I’m not a consultant with a fancy degree….I’m just a lady in a chair who doesn’t want to be there.

Next up….Oxbury Mall




Argyle Mall the streets and shops.. (part 1)


I decided in the case of some places I needed to divide them by restaurant, shops and street since some places seem to be worse than others at times.

So the first one is going to be street and shops, and the next one restaurants.  Nothing says barrier like a badly designed street or one that has been dropped into such a state of disrepair that it almost is a joke that they would think anyone could safely cross let alone someone who is unable to see, hear or walk well. The first picture I have opted to show is a crossing on  Dundas one light east of Clarke Road. This one is a real winner. To start with the button to ensure the walk sign is located in a “pit”.  With a chair you can’t get near the button without getting too close to the pit and I think we know how bad things would get if you couldn’t see just what you were getting into trying to find the button.

One area of sidewalk near a Mexican restaurant has a chunk of pavement missing from the middle of the sidewalk…not good for casters definitely not good for someone with visual issues.


Some of the walkways in the area are great since they lead straight from Clarke and Dundas right into the mall parking lot. It’s too bad they don’t have a nice pedestrian corridor to take you to the strip plaza, but we can’t have everything.

Some of the guiding lines to the bus stop are placed in oddball spots. They cross you from the ramp at the stop on the far side, across to the stops on the opposite side, and from there straight on over into a curb? So if you want to go to LCBO be prepared to either go straight down or take the parking lot since it’s quicker.

Near the Dollarama on Dundas the whole sidewalk was missing sending people to the street to access the driveway in order to get in to the store.  They have only ONE ramp and that is at the side where the destruction was. We didn’t see any evidence of disability parking. When you go up the ramp and push the actuator button, you have to stay on the far side because the door opens on the left. After getting in, there is a sign telling you to push another button but the button has gone AWOL. Guess it didn’t like the layout either. When you leave it’s out through the cashway. Then once you leave the store you have to wait for the door to close so you can go by it to get to that ramp.

Across the way near the A&W is a driveway to the side of Argyle Mall. I don’t know who dreamt up this lopsided street, but one half is in one place and the other side where your sidewalk is, is off kilter to it. Please note if you have problems seeing and no dog, I don’t suggest you try this one. You could end up in the ditch.


I was pleasantly surprised to see that Gold’s Gym had both accessible parking AND a very accessible building. Two actuators, flat curbs all such a beautiful thing. When you head towards the front side of the mall you encounter your loss of sidewalk. Instead you hug the building, don’t trip over the “mini ramp” at the mattress store’s side entrance and slip around to the front.

Most of the stores we visited were accessible. One button does all both in and out. It was a bit of a “minefield” trying to negotiate the Dollar Tree with all the stick out display boxes but at least the aisles are pleasantly wide.


At Toys’R’Us it was nice to see that the price scanners were down at eye level for a wheelchair user. Nice not to get a crick in the neck trying to look up. Walmart needs to take a page from their book for this one.


The No Frills grocery was next, the only beef I have with No Frills, and Food Basic and FreshCo is their insistence on having only one or two lanes that a chair can actually fit into, and especially scooters. It’s no fun having to wait in line because you want to leave their store.

Just downhill from Walmart was a nice walking “bridge” that runs across the street, straight all the way to the bus stops. If I had one wish, it would be that they make these stops wider. When a bus ramp goes down, it blocks the path and you can’t get by until it raises back up. You can also get stuck trying to get to a spot where the ramp can be lowered and not meet up with a shelter because when it’s crowded with people it’s hard to manage. They also don’t have designated stops for each route so whatever order they come in…that’s where you have to get to in order to get on your bus.

Some things done right, some things done really wrong. I just wish we could get this sorted out and not have to fight with barriers wherever we go.

Coming up….the restaurants of Argyle (as many as we went by) and it’s not pretty.

White Oaks here we come

Continuing my photos to try to make a better place for those who have to live in it and don’t have the privilege of being on two good legs it’s time for White Oaks Mall. I swear I’m going to end up creating a series called “bathrooms good and bad” as well as “restaurants….do those in a chair really need to eat out?”. I have soo much material on both of these topics, but I’m getting off subject so…

We started outside by getting off the bus at the stop just outside the mall because we needed to go pick up a mouse from a strip plaza down the street.

The road at the corner where the mall is is not very nice for pedestrians but in particular for those in a chair.


There are a lot of potholes and the sides of the sidewalk can almost be like a cliff. I know I have problems with this corner a lot of the time…I wonder how my fellow “disabled” folks in particular those who are visually impaired handle things here?

At the top of the corner pictured here is what I’d like to call the “cliff face”.


The area right to the left with the worn path actually has a drop and it’s not insignificant in the least. I wouldn’t attempt it with wheels, and someone who can’t see this would have a really tough time of it, especially since the sidewalk veers to the right and actually goes on an angle down to the street. It’s a tricky spot.

Moving on towards my strip plaza, we passed by another plaza. There is one pedestrian entrance from Wellington…a set of stairs. I guess if you are like me in a wheeled contraption…you go down to the corner, up the side road. I get that the side there is steep, but I wish these places were more “walkable” or “wheelable” as the case might be.


We finally got to where we needed to go and I took the road ramp down because I could not see if the sidewalk actually led to a ramp from my position. On the way back I took the ramp..that picture is coming. The ramp/sidewalk to the store has a bit of a hump in it to get over, not sure if it’s a problem for those with reduced vision, but it’s a pain for a chair, since it required me to put on a bit of speed to get up it.


I think they extended the sidewalk or something because of the way it’s been done, but perhaps it will get smoothed out more in time.

Inside the store they had a RUBBER mat down. It had little grab piles of rubber on it, and when I drove over it, my wheels caught the mat and sucked it in. My husband was more concerned about getting the mat unstuck from the chair than taking a photo but it was pretty bad. I had to (lucky for me huh?) get out of my chair, so that it could be lifted up enough to pull the mat right out from under the chair, it was caught up in the drive wheel. I guess rubber + drive wheels = not such a good idea. They went back to a flat mat and rolled up the evil beast. (they said they had it down because of the rains).


After our visit it was time to head back to the mall, I managed to find the ramp for the sidewalk and decided to give it a try. The sidewalk angled steeply to the right. Not sure that the photo can do it justice but I had to readjust myself after getting off it, since I was literally glued to the right side of the chair by the shift.


It was a rather uncomfortable feeling being on this sidewalk.

We made it back across that nightmare street and decided to head in to  the mall from Walmart. I have to say that the approach to Walmart is fantastic. Wide sidewalk, light standards NOT in the way, plenty of room to drive on and for others to get by. This is a center aisle sidewalk done RIGHT.


From the approach…..

down to the driveway (the hill’s a bit steep but not so bad). If you use a push chair you might have to hold tight if there is traffic.

To the main aisle.

Right to the end where the accessible parking is. It was a treat to get to the store without having to take the road.


White Oaks you’re getting there!

Inside the mall, we explored the food court, which does have at least 4 accessible tables. Sadly they don’t stand out from normal ones so it’s hard to find them, and sometimes they are taken by folks with strollers so I can’t use them at all. It’s a shame because the tables are very well suited to a chair. Wide enough so we can get to the table top and not get caught underneath. I’d love to see them be a bit higher, since we’re almost a foot higher in a power chair, but if they could contrast the color so that it’s easy to see where they are and so that others can see it is for those with need, then we’d be all golden.

We also visited the 3 accessible washrooms that we found there. I think they are some of the best I’ve seen to date as far as size and usefulness.

But…if you have visual impairment, you won’t be able to find any bathrooms, since the signs are NOT at the level they can be found, nor are you able to find them by tactile means since the only signs outside pointing to them are stand up cardboard ones. I hope this is just temporary.

I’m also not sure about the height of the toilet for transfers. It was a bit low, but fortunately I’m only partially disabled so I can get up and out, not sure about anyone else.

I’ll leave that for those who have to transfer to decide.

We opted to leave and try to get to Canadian Tire, which is just across the parking lot further south from the mall. It’s not too bad for the going, there are sidewalks, some a bit narrow but otherwise passable. It’s when you get to where the driveway intersects with the entrance lane, that things get a bit frustrating. Short sidewalks with steep grade ramps are not fun, I almost tipped returning to the mall because of the steepness and the pressure from cars to move faster made me forget the cardinal rule of taking the ramp straight on. Never will make that mistake again.


There is a small sidewalk that leads to the parking lot for Canadian Tire, I wasn’t sure if I could make it from my side so I continued to the corner. The way across from me looked like the picture below, problem was, the ramp sidewalk leads to no other ramps. I had to turn and go down onto the road and head up to Canadian Tire.


Alongside of the Canadian Tire greenhouse was a path where the paint was worn out, if it was sprayed back up to yellow stripes it would make a wonderful pathway for those on foot and those with mobility aids to attempt to keep the cars out.

All in all it wasn’t too bad out there, it’s by far my favorite when it comes to accessible bathrooms. The mall staff did tell me that they are working on their directional signs though, since the original was made of paper. I liked that it wasn’t reflective, but it wasn’t tactile either. I hope their new one will be, though I have my doubts since when I said something about it she seemed surprised at the idea.


Next up will be Argyle Mall.

just me

Thought I’d just drop by and say hi. I know I hash-tagged it when it’s not a picture of a barrier but…Not sure if anyone reads this thing, but perhaps I can at least keep the ghosts from wondering where I’ve been and the truth is I’ve been busy with catching up some studies, I’m not going to get credit for them but at least I can say I finished them, and with pretty decent grades. Still have one more class to complete so my posts about disabilities may be a bit thin. Also…I’m running out of things to share and write on since the buses in my city only work so often and go so far and I have no other means of transport.

I’ve also been busy going through my own private pity party. They aren’t as frequent as they used to be, but whenever I can’t go in somewhere or do something I used to do that feeling comes on, the feeling where I get angry and sad about the accident that led to my knees being a mess which lead to a chair and I still don’t know why it’s a chair and not braces but I can’t seem to find someone to give me answers. I just want to walk and now I’m waiting to hear from a clinic if they will be able to help considering I’m called “inactive”. I’m inactive because I got hurt, I went from walking and swimming to physiotherapy and exercising with a “hand bike”. I’m fat but I was getting fit when this stupid fall happened and I’m angry sometimes because I can’t go where I used to, the barriers are all there and it’s hard sometimes to judge whether or not you should “risk” the ramp or just take a pass and sit outside. I want to yell at those with two legs about how places are not as acceptable or accessible as they seem but feel like they simply say “we’re doing our best”.

We don’t seem to have a standard for best, it’s mediocre at best. Some places paying “lip service” to accessibility, pretending it’s accessible when it’s not. You just wait I have pictures of one that will make you wonder why one even bothers to go out.

Then there is the fight. I need a better door to get out of my home. I can’t seem to get one because the management said it would cost too much, their solution try to move me to a “disability unit” in the main building. I don’t want to live there I want to be where I am now. So I’m fighting their decision….but I can’t get a lawyer to help, because I’m not wealthy and my city seems to be a Human Rights desert. Who wants to help with the poorly paying “landlord” disputes when they can make money off the “my business fired me for the wrong reasons” disputes? My “property management” will have a lawyer, where is mine? I called up the HR folks and got impatience because I’m nervous about what will be coming up with mediation or tribunal. Instead of patience and tolerance I was told that I needed to LISTEN to her after all I had called “many times” on this matter so they were the ones to advise me. Problem is they’ve advised me in so many different directions because it’s never the same person twice…that I’m starting to feel less “advised” and more “patronized” since I have to take what they say at face value. I felt that she wasn’t listening to me, answering a simple question. I got what she told me about part of it, just wanted to know more about the process but she’s got no time. Why can’t I just get ONE person to help me through this process? Like my opposition will have.

Top it off with….my husband just had an upgrade to his layoff from temporary to permanent and ODSP is now a circus to try to apply for (not that I really want it but I NEED it with this stupid chair that I have to take care of).

Anyway..that’s the reason why I haven’t written anything as an update lately, why I have gone out but haven’t done the photos or tweets or anything like that. Sorry I’m not good at this getting out the posts regularly thing. I’m just an artist, and a mom and a person who went from using two decent serviceable legs to a wheelchair in the space of 2 years and am just fed up with the whole thing. The inability to get around, the lack of independence I feel. The exclusion and frustration at not being able to participate fully anymore.

Some days I feel less like a person and more like a chair.

Northland Mall (sorry but White Oaks must wait)

Well I’ve been a bit under the weather lately and bogged down with some school catch up work online so I’ve not been getting out as much but when I have it has been to go to appointments.

Most recent was a doctor’s appointment, they really have a problem at the Dundas LIHC (London Intercommunity Health Center) they might have an actuator on their doors, but the rest of the place is pretty much inaccessible. When a motorized wheelchair user leaves her chair at home and opts for a push chair you know there’s an issue. Issue 1. size of the waiting room, it’s not really big enough to support clients with wheelchairs and scooters, it’s really quite small. 2. Appointment rooms, too small for a chair, and doors not wide enough to accommodate them. As in, we struggled to get the push chair in, and if I’d used the motorized…I would have left it in the waiting room it’s so small.  All I can say is…I really hope they get to move soon because this is just not working well at all.

Now on to the trip to Northland Mall. It’s really not so much a mall anymore as a strip mall. The area has 5 strip malls. One is up a wee bit on Huron, the other 4 are on each of the intersections of this area. I only covered 3/5 since I didn’t really need anything from the other two. I started off with a ride from Voyageur to get to my eye appointment. Those who do not use the service probably don’t realize that it is a 3 day in advance booking for this service. It costs a bus ticket (no transfers) and takes you straight to where you need to go. Problem is my eye doctor has such a small building for the appointments that the accessibilty is really nil. The ramp was in a bad place, the sidewalk tiny to get in and out through the door of the building. No actuator and the office was really small as well. I had to leave the chair more than once to attend appointment because it’s just not easy to get around in there. I do hope someday they change locations since I doubt they could ever get this place to be accessible in any reasonable fashion.

After the appointment I didn’t take Voyageur since I never book a return trip. One never knows how long an appointment will take so I figured I’d shop for a bit and either see if I could get a return trip or just take the city transit. We opted to check out Talize and that is where we went first. I am happy to say that the strip mall that Talize occupies is a breath of fresh air in the accessibility dept. (Talize itself needs to fix their door issues since you need to remove a “bar” to exit the store (meant to keep their shopping carts inside I’m sure). ). The mall itself was a dream.

Look folks….NO CURB to get in the way. Almost the entire length of the mall is like this, accessible from any point you come from.

talize very nice

We left that strip mall and crossed the street to Northland Mall. Again it was quite nice to see that there was a ramp that led to Williams Coffee.

not bad

it has a bit of a “curb” on the end of it so a push chair might have to work a bit but it’s much better than what comes at the library so I’d take it as a blessing. I didn’t get a chance to check out the sidewalks leading to the mall but from what I recall they weren’t great but not awful either. At least there is no shrubbery in the way ;).

Oh and check out this parking.

wow yes

and this.

yes again

I don’t drive but I’d have to assume that this is soo much better than what I’ve been showing off lately. Again a nice curb-less place to get from road to sidewalk. The only place with curbing is down near Walmart at the far end of the store not near the front entry so I call that another win.

We decided a trip to Giant Tiger was next on the list so we headed for the next strip mall. There is NO sidewalk or pedestrian walkway that leads directly to the other strip mall so you either go out to the street or walk along the driveway/parking area. All pedestrians have to do it so I don’t feel so left out this time.

When we decided to leave the strip mall is when we encountered the first obstacle. There is no way for a mobility user to get from the sidewalk of the strip mall to the sidewalk on Huron without going through a driveway. It isn’t that a sidewalk doesn’t exist, because there is one, it’s just got no ramp for getting back onto the sidewalk.

how to get away from the strip mall to the street

I don’t think the yellow lines were meant to tell me I could go anywhere, just to show contrast for a driver I guess.

We went to the pedestrian crosswalk to head to the library since I figured if I was going to get a Voyageur it might be easier to get it from there. Turns out I ended up taking the City transit back home because well….since I didn’t book Voyageur, I was told that because it was busy I’d get a pick up, but there was no idea of what time that would be…1/2hr, 1hr, 3hrs. No ETA meant I’d rather try for LTC since it runs more frequent. We cancelled the attempted pickup and went by city bus. BUT when we went to library to wait we discovered “hell”.

This is the pedestrian walkway on the strip mall side of the road.

what a mess

Chunky, messy, easy to trip especially if you have visual impairment issues. Here’s another view from the road.

another view of bad pavement

Once across we looked at the sidewalk on the same side as the library.

swing out into traffic

The ramp  is near the main roadway, you can’t go straight from one sidewalk to another without the curb and of course no mats in this entire area to alert the visually impaired that they are about to meet a road.

This is the sidewalk on the way to the bus stop and library. I wouldn’t want to be unable to see this thing.

yikes trip to library

the faded orange paint really doesn’t help either.

We arrived at the only sidewalk up to the library and saw this.

sidewalk at library from road

This library recently had a fix up done too bad the sidewalk wasn’t part of it. I can only hope that the white lines mean they plan to fix it but somehow I don’t really think so.

This is was the sidewalk path. Car overhanging the sidewalk. It was a pain to get by I ended up driving a bit in the “garden”.

sidewalk block on only sidewalk to library

This is the only ramp they have for access. It’s all curb except for that x marks the spot ramp.

only ramp at library

Here is a shot of the bathrooms. I’m not sure if I have a bathroom there, or if I use the family bathroom or what but I’m glad I didn’t need to go.

which one is for me

another bathroom not sure

I think they are tactile but I didn’t really check sorry guys. The water fountain was impossible to use too it was a bit high up and awkward.

The doorway I entered with was a bit of a charmer. The actuator on the inside door is broken so they propped the door open, but the doors are so narrow they are very tight to get in and out. I worry about larger scooters being able to navigate. They had a giant chessboard on the floor which meant going the long way around for movies, just crazy there.


After all our errands I had a tough time getting home, a local business had their electric bikes on the sidewalk….literally.

It was no fun passing by that pillar because there is a giant hole if I leave the sidewalk by accident. I sort of have to wonder why on earth they are on the sidewalk in the first place. Evil me wanted to tip or tap one of them to see if they would all have the alarms go off. YES I resisted.

Anyway that’s the Northeast end. Some big wins and some big fails.

A Trip to the Mall, going North

Yesterday we decided to take a trip to the North end of the city, Masonville area. Farm Boy was having a sale on something we wanted and we thought we’d also look at showing off the barriers I faced last time I was up there. We got off the bus and crossed over to the side with the strip mall. Lots of interesting stores there but the biggest challenge was getting into the mall. The bus stop on this side of the street has an entrance to it, but it’s all stairs down a hill. So it was off to the driveway for me. First part of the sidewalk off the driveway was not accessible as seen in the photo. The left photo shows that the other end isn’t accessible from the driveway side either. I had to go around to the parking spot.

This is the parking spot we saw…disability yes, ramp at the front of the car? Why?

If there had been a car parked there I would not have been able to access this ramp. Not even marked off.

disability parking and it's access ramp at the FRONT of the parking space

This was a repeated pattern throughout that side of the mall. Ramps in front of spots.

parking and ramp in front

I drove down that little curve to the left, and the only room there was is for just me, or just someone on foot imagine two wheelchairs encountering each other moving a different direction. You can’t see ahead to see if someone is there or not.

We don’t have a photo of the ramp but this is the issue with the narrow sidewalks, the ramp video will be in my twitter feed.  I think we need a place for bikes. Not on the sidewalk.

need a bike rack

The ramp was narrow, down the outside of the pathway and rail on only the inner side, nothing to stop you from driving off by accident. After navigating the ramp we came to the Liquor Store, then Farm Boy. Farm Boy is a nice little grocery, the tables on the smallish sidewalk were a bit of a nuisance but only if you needed to have more than one person on the sidewalk at a time. The other side, they had a table and a sandwich board which would have been a roadblock but the Manager was happy to get it moved so that it made an easier pathway.

ramp and sign

Shopping in Farm Boy was a bit of a challenge, fortunately for me, I usually have someone along with me. The Manager said that I could ask for assistance if I was alone, a sign on the front to reflect that would be a good idea, otherwise, if independent shopping is your thing, you might be a bit disappointed. Definitely don’t make a pick of the produce, it’s arranged on a diagonal on a high slanted table, grab a potato take one or three in the head nor should you go near the steam tables without assistance.

After finishing up our shopping, we headed down to the end of the strip mall, which had the very last ramp for the entire area. (check out the video on twitter for the remainder of the trip from ramp to sidewalk for Masonville Mall).

last ramp in strip mall

Again no painted ramps, none of the ramps I saw were marked, which made it hard (since I’m not native to the area) for me to navigate around.

We arrived at the first mall entrance for Masonville that is across from this strip mall. The problem with this one is that the road and sidewalk on the Northwest corner are a mess, and no matter which side you cross on, there is no sidewalk to take you through to the mall. If you went to Farm Boy for some of their fast food, and then wanted to take in a movie at Silver City, I’d have to go a block in either direction to find another driveway where there is a sidewalk that meets up with the Mall. The sidewalk at the driveway I went to first, is too narrow on one side because of light standards and trees, and on the other side, it’s a dead end. Left leads a block down to one accessible sidewalk, right to Fanshawe and around the corner and up 1/2 block leads to another.


Going up towards Fanshawe to the next roadway would be no better. You’d be lined up great with Silver City, but not lined up with a sidewalk.

no sidewalk here

There was a short cut at the corner, but it’s steps and a non ramp concrete slab.

no entrance here

I opted to take the parking lot, and we found disability parking at the end, which is nice and wide, but no yellow marks and no ramp near the first parking space. So park, get out, take the driveway to the yellow lines and if someone is letting someone else off, wait to cross in the roadway area.


I did like their ramp though, closed in on both sides, wider than it appears from first look and all in all not a bad spot.  The other sidewalk from Fanshawe to Masonville mall is just around the corner of the building (behind us in the photo) NOTE: I didn’t know that walkway existed until I was on the way home, and saw it through the bus window.

nice ramp

Other side of the mall. Our London Transit service stops on the opposite side of the mall. The area is under construction, but for the most part they have a nice smooth way to get from the buses to the mall. It leads to the UPPER level of the mall so an elevator trip is required to go to the food court, but it’s not so bad if you take the glass elevator. DO NOT take the small one near the stairs, at the food court entrance, you could be waiting a long time, since it only has room for ONE wheelchair or stroller at a time. The day we went, it was a heck of a wait, since we’d call for the elevator and it would stop only to show us a stroller on board from upstairs, heading downstairs. It took over 10 min to get an elevator to be empty so we could head downstairs.

The information signs, were standing upright, got glare from lights or skylights making them hard to read, and the print was soo small, (the same with the icons), that you couldn’t really make things out easily. We hunted for the bathroom, and here is what we got.

Actuator for door, yep, door locks with a push button (SOMETIMES), the bathroom we were in DID NOT lock when we pushed the button, and since I am partly able to walk, I was able to leave the chair in front of the door and go do my business. Otherwise someone almost walked in on us.

umm nope

For those of you who transfer I’d like to know…HOW do you do it in these rooms?

There was another washroom right beside it, but because of it’s location, the way of getting in the door could be very challenging to do, especially with a scooter. (it is right in front of the back entry for the food businesses)

The food court had about 3 designated tables. They are not easy to go under since they have a bar down their middle, and they are located INSIDE the barrier area instead of on the outside edges.

A few more pictures of the outside and we were finished for the day. It was getting hot. One shows the typical sidewalks in this place, the second just how narrow that sidewalk can be. The third is an entrance from the other side of the road where another strip mall is, which has it’s ramp at the end (very end of picture near silver van), the rest of the walkway is NOT accessible, and I had to drive down the road to access it.

This last photo I called “why bother” since they made such a nice ramp, with yellow edging, but it leads to….

why bother



Nope I don’t get it either. We stopped by Loblaws next, and it has beautiful wide aisles, they tell you on the door to feel free to ask for assistance but, if you want to pay for your groceries, bring cash because… it’s high up, it doesn’t move and the screen faces up to the ceiling. I can’t see anything on it.

nice width but no card for me

The lane next to it was marked with a wheelchair access sign (it was a wider lane) but it had the same cash out system.

On the way home, my driver tied me down on the city bus like this. My husband fixed it because originally he only tied me down on one side at the front (hubby did back), and pulled the bar out so far it was not pinned in place, it kept moving while we were driving until I told my husband and he fixed it.

hubby had to correct this one

Like I said it’s a good thing my husband tends to go on bigger trips with me, to ensure I’m always locked down on all four sides.

Tune in next time for our trip to White Oaks Mall.