Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Toronto Public Space Initiative

We recently met with architect Chloe Doesburg who is a volunteer with The Toronto Public Space Initiative, she wrote a fantastic blog post about StopGap and our pursuit for an inclusive society free of physical barriers. This nonprofit organization is all about enhancing public space here in Toronto - click here for the link to the article!

Through a network of mutual friends and StopGap supporters we were introduced to the wonderful Silvia Guido and her brilliant initiative called AccessTo. Silvia uses a list of criteria to analyze the accessibility of restaurants here in Toronto and her blog highlights the restaurants that are given an accessible thumbs up. If you see the sticker shown below in a restaurant's front window you will immediately know that Silvia and her crew have done a thorough survey and have given it a seal of approval in terms of accessibility. But you will notice that the blog goes beyond accessibility and really does a great job at bringing the term "inclusive" into the picture. Take a closer look at the sticker and you will understand. This is a much-needed resource for such invaluable information as in the past the only way to know about a restaurant's accessibility is through word of mouth. Silvia has recently teamed up with the occupational therapy program at the University of Toronto. This partnership will allow AccessTo to dramatically grow its number of reviewed restaurants by engaging the occupational therapy students to take on reviews of their own and post them on the blog. We owe a huge thanks to Silvia and her amazing students for helping arrange for a similar partnership to be made between StopGap and U. of T.! Stay tuned for an official welcome of our occupational therapy students and how they will be involved with the Community Ramp Project in the spring! In the meantime go check out and support AccessTo!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Belleville Community Ramp Project!

A huge congratulations goes out to Belleville Community Ramp Project Team Leader Taylor Bardell for continuing to push her project along in Belleville! Partnering with Home Depot and Community Living Belleville and Area,Taylor and her team of dedicated volunteers completed another five ramps for local businesses with single stepped storefronts. Check out these fantastic photos taken yesterday during the build!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

2014 is going to be HUGE!

Happy new year! Hopefully the holiday season treated everyone well despite the ice storm and the bitter cold temperatures that mother nature threw at us here in Toronto. If I could, I would punch mother nature in her freezing cold face!

Let me bring you up to speed on some really really really really really exciting developments with the StopGap initiative.

Last winter we were approached by Anna Flisfeder, a lawyer at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt. Anna graciously offered to take on the task of assisting us in applying for charitable status. Anna and her colleague Ina Eroff received permission from their firm to do this work as pro bono and in late October after bush whacking their way through Canada Revenue Agency's tedious application process they were successful! Thanks to Anna and Ina's hard work we are proud to announce the arrival of StopGap Foundation! Here is our new logo!

Moving forward into 2014, School Presentations and The Community Ramp Project activities will be run through StopGap Foundation and get this... we already received our first grant! We sent in a proposal to RBC and apparently they loved hearing about what we are up to, so they cut us a cheque for $5000! This funding will go towards furthering our Community Ramp Project. The plan is to do mini road trips in the spring and summer to visit various communities in southern Ontario where we will launch a Community Ramp Project. The funding will be used to cover transportation and lodging when on the road, while material donations and volunteer labour will continue to be relied upon to cover ramp construction. This is exciting stuff!

We would also like to share that StopGap Incorporated remains. Our Ramps on Request program will continue to run through StopGap Inc. and we are pumped about the opportunities that lie in store. This month we will be expanding our Ramps on Request program into the United States by supplying David's Tea with a beautiful new ramp for one of their Brooklyn New York locations! David's Tea has been an avid supporter of our Ramps on Request program since this time last year. Their customers love the bright teal ramp that we supplied to their Yonge and Eglinton location, this no doubt brought on their request for their store in Brooklyn. Stay tuned for photos documenting this milestone!

We are proud to welcome Matthew Sanders to our Ramps on Request team. Matthew will be our go to contractor for following through with ramp requests. He brings with him lots of experience as a cabinet maker and carpenter and will be helping us improve the longevity of our ramps by introducing a new type of very durable epoxy-based paint typically used in the automotive industry. Matthew has a fully functioning wood shop in Mississauga complete with a spray booth where he will be making everyone's wildest ramp dreams come true! Welcome Matthew!

So, 2014 here we come! It's going to be an action-packed year for us - thank you for your continued support and keep checking in for updates!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

It simply makes life easier for everyone.

We recently received some fantastic fan mail from a Roncesvalles resident. Her feedback is proof of how a simple ramp can create an inclusive environment. Here is what she had to say:

"Hey - I live in the Roncie neighbourhood and LOVE the StopGap ramps you've put in there. It makes life easier for my mom who comes to visit with her electric wheelchair and also for my son in his stroller. Thank you!!! What a brilliant initiative that impacts so many people."

Do you have any feedback for us? If so, please share your thoughts - we'd love to hear them!

Friday, September 20, 2013

StopGap Photo Contest!

We have been selected as one of ten projects that will be highlighted in a book entitled Community Lover's Guide to the Universe: Toronto Edition. The original edition for this series was conceived in Rotterdam in April 2011 in an attempt to provide guidebooks for cities to surface emergent knowledge from successful community practice around the world.  The selected projects featured in the series demonstrate how community development, collaboration, and growing takes on a different character in different places and/or cultures around the world. No project is too small, and the authors are really looking for everyday creativity, fresh and imaginative ways to envision community building, city building, and urbanism. The intent of the series is that the featured projects will highlight how community collaboration and enabling citizens can transform neighbourhoods. Super exciting stuff!

In order to be a part of this we need to submit a description of our project and provide 5-10 high resolution pictures of ramps in action.  We need some help with the pictures so we thought we’d reach out and have some fun with this! If you live in a community that has businesses with StopGap ramps we’d like you to get out there and take some pictures of them! Be creative and send us your pictures of ramps doing what they do best, the winning shots will get featured in the book. Submit your high resolution pics by September 26th and let the photo contest begin!

Please send your pictures to

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Taylor Bardell of Belleville is on a "Ramp"age!

Huge news!!! Check out this news piece on Taylor Bardell's amazing efforts in bringing a ramp project to her community! Click here for the article.