Park House Museum Accessibility Barriers

Continuing with photos from my downtown tour, the Park House Museum walk and ramp could use an update.

When asked about accessibility, Park House Curator advised they are currently fundraising to replace the current ramps and walkways and to add a push-button door.

As for the website, ‘we have changed the colour from black to white to enhance visibility and recently launched a user survey to see where our visitors would like changes to be made.’ I couldn’t locate an Accessibility Policy on the website, but the Curator provided me with a blanket policy including a link to training that will be provided, as outlined by the documentation at www.mto.gov.on.ca. i’m not sure how useful the Ministry of Transportation site will be.

In March 2022, the town granted the museum’s request for $8500. and provided an additional $6500. for a total of $15,000.

In March 2022, it was also announced that the museum received a $19700. grant from Ontario’s Community Building Fund Operating stream.

The August 8, 2022 town council agenda includes a memo$15,000 for the precommitment of the 2022 Park House Grant

Sooner, rather than later, funding will need to be allocated to imrproving accessibility at the Park House and other buildings in town.

park house museum rotting wooden walk and ramp in amherstburg, ontario

Amherstburg’s Open Air 2022 Barriers Part Three – Maps

Amherstburg is not Bogota.

Populations:
Amherstburg 21,936
Bogota 11, 167,000

Amherstburg’s Open Air event where, for the third year, barriers prevent the almost 5,000 persons with disabilities from equally participating in their community: barriers to the post office, banks, hair salons and parking to allow for games, patios, entertainment to occupy the streets.

Visit Amherstburg website includes two links to the same map:

“To assist you we have this map to help you best decide where to park your vehicle. You’ll see we have added additional accessible parking spots at the Open Air thresholds as well as additional bike racks to help encourage active transportation.

Click here to see additional bicycle, vehicle and accessible parking areas.”

The first map:downtown Amherstburg map closed streets during spring to fall weekends

The second map:downtown Amherstburg map closed streets during spring to fall weekends accessible parking

Who decided it was a good idea to have two links to one map on the same page?

Amherstburg’s Open Air 2022 Barriers To Inclusion Part Two

Amherstburg is not Bogota.

This is a continuation of photos showing the barriers to Amherstburg’s downtown due to its ‘Open Air’ event where open streets are closed to vehicular traffic on the weekends from May to September.

barriers to Murray Street in Amherstburg, Ontario during the weekends of summer months

Amherstburg’s Open Air event where, for the third year, barriers prevent the almost 5,000 persons with disabilities from equally participating in their community: barriers to the post office, banks, hair salons and parking to allow for games, patios, entertainment to occupy the streets.

Reader letter: Artwork should have been on display at accessible site

As published in the Windsor Star July 23, 2022.

Re: Amherstburg gets a closer look at Group of Seven artwork, by Dave Battagello, July 2

Not everyone will get a closer look.

The exhibition was being hosted in a downtown bookstore owned by Richard Peddie.

Victoria Little, chairwoman of the Board of Directors of Art Windsor-Essex, stated recently, “AWE regrets hosting this exhibition in a space that is not accessible in Amherstburg.”

In her letter, Ms. Little explained: “AWE also undertakes partnerships when our overarching goals for a program align with those of community visionaries, such as Richard Peddie.”

But if the goal was to bring this exhibit to Amherstburg, AWE could have selected accessible locations like the downtown Gibson Gallery or the Libro Centre.

The livability of communities cannot be improved if persons with disabilities continue to experience discrimination because of attitudinal and physical barriers.

AWE needs to adopt an accessibility policy and align its goals with legislation that ensures every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to services, goods and facilities without discrimination.

Ms. Little asked for my “patience and understanding that the organization operates within the broader systems of obligations that may conflict with our overarching accessible vision.”

I have been more than patient as I have advocated for improved accessibility for over 30 years. There’s the Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2001, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2005, the Human Rights Code, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, along with the goal of a fully accessible province in 2025.

Yet, a public art organization decided it was okay to exclude persons with disabilities with this recent exhibition. Linda Saxon, Amherstburg

River Bookshop Barriers

Richard Peddie co-owns River Bookshop in Amherstburg, built in 1885 and restored to honour the building’s heritage. Peddie requested and received heritage designation in 2021.

The website states, “Our second-floor event space is a very important part of our ambition to create a powerful and popular “Third Place” in our community. Consistent with our River Bookshop our values are to educate, inspire, engage and entertain.”

Twenty stairs that Peddie says you just walk up poses a barrier to people with disabilities. Shameful. There is also a raised threshold that I got stuck on and issues with the website.

twenty stairs to second floor river bookshop in amherstburg, ontario a barrier to persons with disabilities.

Peddie’s Pop Up – am800 Interview

Dan Macdonald, am800, interviewed Richard Peddie, River Bookshop owner and Jennifer Matotek, Executive Director Art Windsor Essex (AWE), formerly Art Gallery Windsor about the Group of Seven Pop Up Exhibit. Read the article or listen to the interview.

Peddie mentions the event is free and you just walk upstairs because the event is on the second floor, called a hole in the wall. He explains that it’s an 1887 building and they weren’t accessible in those days.

Yes, but it’s 2022.

Meanwhile, Matotek is ‘looping in some’ team members and asking if they can work on some language for the show around access, ‘so we can be transparent with the public about the lack of access for this space.’

Being transparent about a lack of access is not the same as equal access.

Amherstburg Town Hall Displays Wheelchair Access Symbols

Amherstburg town hall displays the inaugural Essex County Accessibility Flag for National AccessAbility Week along with the ‘accessible entrance at back’ lawn sign.

The 54 year old wheelchair access symbol was intended to indicate access. A more inclusive symbol to display on a flag would be the Hidden Disability Symbol Canada.

amherstburg town hall accessibility flag with access at rear lawn sign