"Let it go, let it go, let it go," I mumble to myself. I don't want to be in 'activist' mode. I don't want to kick up a fuss. I just want to have a good time. If you've guessed that I failed in my attempt, you're right. Damn.
We went over to the 1000 Tastes of Toronto festival held in Queen's Park, which is a few blocks from our home. The park looked wonderfully phantasmagorical, full of enormous and outrageous plastic, air filled, sculptures. It was a joy to ride through and watch kids eyes as they pushed at giant balloons or hid behind huge mushrooms. Several companies had booths. I knew going in that some would be out of the question for me because nature is sometimes inaccessible - I get that. But I saw a booth that interested me immediately. It was a booth for Telus (a telephone provider) and it had a sign announcing that you could go in and create digital graffiti.
How cool is that?
I went over and found that the door to the booth was very, very, narrow. No way could I get into it, no way could someone in a regular sized manual chair get into it, it was designed in such a way that accessibility wasn't even considered. I went to the booth and Joe, poor long-suffering, I just want to go to the park for fun, Joe walked on. I spoke with the guy working the booth. I said, 'You know that this door is so narrow that no one in a wheelchair can get in.' He said, 'Yeah, I know.' That was it. I continued to stare at him in disbelief, he knew and he didn't give a shit! Then he hastily added, just to get rid of me: "I'll mention it to the company."
It irritated me. OK, I don't like going over grass in my chair. I don't want them to pave over grass, I'm not unreasonable. But to make a freaking booth and bring it down for public use and by design have a huge percentage of the population left out - what kind of corporate responsibility is that? Telus, shame on you.
Then we headed over to where the food was, I asked about best access and was directed by a staffer to go around onto the road. We did and found ourselves at the ass end of the booths. They weren't serving on this side at all. We went back, I spoke to another volunteer and complained that I, as a person with a disability was sent to the back door, what to beg for scraps? She didn't get it.
Now we're going along and there was a big President's Choice display where people could enter a contest to win an amazing prize. It looked fun. People were using huge computer touch screens to write something. "I'll enter," I thought. Oh no, to get to the display you had to go down a curb. No provisions were made for people with disabilities to enter. None. President's Choice, shame on you. Next time I have a Choice it won't be you.
We did manage to find some wonderful food and met some wonderful people, yeah. But I had to keep swallowing down, I think, justifiable annoyance and upset. Finally after finishing a wonderful cob of roasted corn with hot peppers, we went home.
I now dub the event, 1001 Tastes of Toronto - just to ensure that they include bitter.