Sunday, 26 July 2020

Important Warning Signage at SSP is not Disabled Friendly.

Some very important signage at Sam Smith Park has long been placed too high for most Disabled to even notice.

As visitors enter from the parking lot through the circular drop off area, there is a Coyote warning sign which has been placed higher than even the top of the head of an able bodied visitor !

DASSP will be following up to first, determine which government group is responsible for signage, and then to ensure the problem is corrected throughout the park. 

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Lakeshore Lodge residents enjoy the fully accessible SSP Skating Trail in the summertime !

One of the most wonderful and unexpected uses of the SSP Skating Trail, is the pleasure it brings to mobility impaired residents of nearby Lakeshore Lodge. 

On summer mornings or evenings you may spot an elderly resident or two, along with their companion moving slowly along the winding path, listening to the song birds or enjoying the foliage and wildflowers which many volunteers from FOSS and CCFEW planted a number of years ago. 

The path has a ramp, and also offers access to the NW entry point of Sam Smith Park past the Swallow Field. 

Efforts to make the Pavilion accessible - Toronto Parks AODA / Chris Clarke and Helen Sousa

DASSP has received a reply from Jorge Ture, of Toronto Parks, regarding the modifications required to make the covered Pavilion accessible for wheelchairs, under AODA guidelines.

Jorge has shared our concerns with Chris Clarke and Helen Sousa, representing Senior Management of Toronto Parks, and will advise.

DASSP will be following up in a few weeks to solicit an update on this important issue, especially as the hot, rainy summer weather is upon us, and many para/quadriplegics are unable to sweat due to their injury or health.

Saturday, 13 June 2020

Visually Impaired - Feedback on Braille received from Toronto Forestry.

DASSP has received feedback from Janette, of Toronto Forestry, on our questions about making SSP more accessible to the Visually Impaired community. DASSP has been connected with the PFR Community Disability Steering Committee, and we will be in touch with them on this important topic.

Janette will also be following up on retrofitting our existing SSP signage for Braille.  Below is the response from Janette...


The Parks & Trails Wayfinding Strategy followed Transportation Services new pedestrian wayfinding signage Toronto 360 , and as part of those two projects we engaged with a number of accessibility groups, including (but not limited to) CNIB, and PFR's Community Disability Steering Committee. We discussed tactile maps and braille on signs, among other things.

In order to include braille and other tactile elements on signs requires that signs should be installed in very predictable locations, and/or that there are other cues in the environment that indicate where signs are located (like standardized tactile trail surfaces or beacons).

Braille was installed on the first Toronto 360 sign prototype, but when reviewed by the PFR Community Disability Steering Committee, they found that it wasn't very helpful if they couldn't locate the sign in the first place.

Changes would need to be well planned in order for it to be useful. Having said all that, Toronto Forestry can look into what would be involved in retrofitting signs with braille.

Saturday, 6 June 2020

Making SSP Interpretive Signs Accessible to the Blind - Toronto Forestry

A number of years back one current member of DASSP and many members of FOSS were able to convince City of Toronto Forestry (Janette Harvey), that the interpretive signs throughout Sam Smith Park had not been installed in an inclusive fashion.

The signs were much too high for children and Disabled, and they were installed perpendicular to the ground, making them very hard to read for both reasons.

City of Toronto Forestry was extremely proactive in responding to our requests for modification, and today the beautiful signage is much lower and slanted for easy viewing and learning.

With the founding of DASSP, we have come to realize that we overlooked the needs of the visually impaired users of our Park.

We have already submitted a request for clarification from Toronto Forestry as to the City's policy on Braille signage, to conform with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, with a view to a much needed remediation in the near future.

We will be following up again next week, and hopefully will be able to report good news in the very near future!

Down the road, once budgets improve and after some DASSP fundraising

Our member Vesty Roze, found a fantastic idea from Naples Italy, of a handrail written in Braille, that tells the story of the Gulf view from atop the castle upon which it rests!

DASPP believes this would be a useful learning tool for Blind children, if Sam Smith Park had a Braille handrail on the lower rail of Observation Deck ! It could tell any number of wonderful stories of the Park to the kids !  We may have to wait a while, but good things come to those who wait, and work hard for them.

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Making the SSP Pavilion accessible - Toronto Parks

One of the issues DASSP has identified requiring remediation, is the lack of accessibility to the Pavilion opposite the playing Oval. 

Disabled folk would like to be able to rely on the Pavilion as a refuge during rainstorms, and of course be able to utilize it for picnics or as a meeting place once the pandemic has abated.  

A pea gravel path to the Pavilion's new ramp, is also required.

We have contacted Toronto Parks (Jorge Ture) and will be following up on this important issue, so that all Disabled, Seniors and residents of nearby Lakeshore Lodge Care Home may enjoy the structure independently.

Photos by Vesty

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

The Observation Deck is now safe for Disabled again !

Saturday, after quite a few months of waiting, the Observation Deck at the southwest end of the Pond was finally re-opened.

The original Deck modifications from early 2019 had been unsuitable for the Disabled, as the worn out original wooden decking had been replaced with a metal grating, with gaps too wide, causing wheelchair front wheels to become stuck, and cane tips to actually go through the grate for slow walkers.

The new metal grating has a narrower gauge, and is much safer for all members of our Disabled Community, and parents with strollers !

Many thanks to Jorge Ture (Toronto Parks), and Janette Harvey (City of Toronto Forestry) for making the remediation!