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.

Art Windsor Essex Board of Directors Ask For Patience Re Inaccessible Exhibit

The letter from the Chair of Art Windsor Essex, formerly Art Gallery Windsor, is below:

June 30, 2022

Dear Linda Saxon,

We received your request, sent on June 28 to Executive Director Jennifer Matotek, to have the Board respond to your concern around the ‘Group of Seven: Not Formed in a Day’ ten-day pop-up exhibition, being displayed in a space that is not wheelchair accessible. AWE regrets hosting this exhibition in a space that is not accessible in Amherstburg. AWE will host ‘Group of Seven: Not Formed in a Day’ and the accompanying programs in our accessible exhibition spaces at 401 Riverside Drive West in Fall of 2022.

Art Windsor-Essex takes several factors into consideration when making decisions around programs. AWE’s strategic plan for 2021-25 notes that the gallery will seek to be “an accessible home for contemporary culture and critical conversations”. It also notes that we will work to strengthen our relationships with stakeholders, and conduct work throughout Windsor-Essex. Presenting programs in partnership with community members is a key part of AWE’s plan to become more community-driven. AWE’s exhibition, education and public programs policy also endorses AWE to undertake offsite partnerships for the purposes of audience engagement, and to support the achievement of artistic objectives. AWE also undertakes partnerships when our overarching goals for a program align with those of community visionaries, such as Richard Peddie.

AWE presents hundreds of programs a year. AWE strives to present programs in accessible spaces, either physically or online. As AWE remains committed to fostering an inclusive and contemporary home for exhibitions and community programing, we ask for your patience and understanding that the organization operates within the broader systems of obligations that may conflict with our overarching accessible vision. As we move forward in operationalizing our new Strategic Plan in a meaningful way, we continue to learn from community members, advocates, and leaders.

We value the perspective you have brought forward. As we continue to live our values and undertake the objectives of our strategic plan, your feedback will be meaningfully addressed as we move forward and continue to consider what it means for the gallery to be an “accessible home”. AWE is in the process of drafting an accessibility policy and access plan. Feedback from community members like you will be important as we draft our policy and plan with support from our external accessibility consultation group, and industry experts.

Thank you for interest in the programs Art Windsor-Essex presents. In line with our dedication to becoming a welcoming person-centred, community-driven, organization, we welcome your advocacy and encourage you to become a member of AWE’s accessibility consultation group. We would value your input on the work we are undertaking around accessibility and access.

Best regards,

Victoria Little, Chair Board of Directors Art Windsor-Essex

Ask And Your Wish Might Be Granted

Amherstburg’s River Lights were to end January 3, 2022 but on December 31, 2021, at 2:26 p.m., am800 reported, Amherstburg’s River Lights To Stay On Until the end of January:

“Manager of Tourism and Culture Anne Rota says the town received several calls from the community requesting the displays be left on.

‘January is typically a long and cold and dark month and we thought if it can help just one person with that seasonal affective disorder. We want people to come out, enjoy the fresh air and walks are safe and healthy and River Lights does just that.’

Richard Peddie tweeted similar comments the day before:

Richard Peddie tweet about extending river lights

As reported on the burg watch, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo Lone Decision-maker of River Lights Extension.

Anne Rota did not respond to these questions:
how many calls did you/thetown receive from the community requesting the displays be left on?
in what way do you think the extension could “help just one person with that seasonal affective disorder?”
what would the extension cost?

Richard Peddie’s and Lauri Brouyette’s Restorations On TVO

Richard Peddie and Lauri Brouyette, introduced as CO-CHAIRS of Thrive Amherstburg, appeared on the Restoring Rural Ontario TVO episode that aired December 8, 2021.

After Peddie and Brouyette promoted their restoration projects and shared the architectural history, Ashley Weeden, a PhD candidate in Rural Studies at the University of Guelph joined the panel, “I simply don’t believe in benevolent capitalists. It just doesn’t exist.” She shared her observations on outside wealth, colonialism and the focus on tourism and its largely cyclical benefits.

Peddie seemed peeved and countered her criticism with, “First of all, we’re not trying to look European” and “We’re also helping the town council think about what this town should do and reach out to be a better place to live for everyone.”

Brouyette’s answer, in part, was, “We formed a group that we call Thrive and it looks at housing, it looks at healthy living, and everything we want to be able to offer our community as a large group as a whole, not just Richard and I; that’s not even close.”

RelatedPeddie cash: What happens when a philanthropist tries to build ‘the best small town in Ontario’