The Mystery of 112 College Street, Toronto

By Mitch Stark

I recently joined the Braze Mobility team, which currently works at the Impact Centre situated at 112 College Street – a building full of innovation and powerful ideas. Some of this innovation focuses on making the world a more accessible place. The key to having an accessible world is realizing what some of the challenges and barriers are.

This important building, located at the University of Toronto campus, truly displays some of the barriers to accessibility. The building has a crazy sub-basement that any individual with a wheelchair must access in order to get to the main parts of the building. This interesting sub-basement includes an elevator straight from the 1920s. I have to say that as a person with a disability, I would never trust myself to go on this elevator independently, who knows what could happen…

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What I have not mentioned is the first step I must take to access the building – I have to drive up a fairly steep loading dock to get in the creepy elevator. This experience shows why breaking down barriers for individuals with accessibility needs is an important task in our modern-day society. Personally I do not think it is a bad thing to have a company focusing on accessibility working out of this building. The creepy elevator and loading dock give our employees and team members a chance to have a real-life experience each and every day, and serve as reminders for why we work at Braze Mobility.

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One day as a company we will be able to say, we started at 112 College Street with a crazy elevator and sub-basement and look where we are now! Remember: everything that is good had to start somewhere. We must do what we have to in order to accomplish our goal of making the world a more accessible place, even if that includes having a dark, crazy, and scary experience to get there!

Finally, we may be able to use 112 College Street as a teaching tool for others. This experience would include everything from the loading dock to the crazy elevator. If you really want an accessibility experience, come see us and we can show you. Maybe our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau needs to visit our workplace to really understand what accessibility means for everyone. At the end of the day, The University of Toronto is a teaching facility so perhaps it makes sense that 112 College Street is not so accessible. As a person with a disability I just have to laugh and say it is okay, at least we have an elevator, even if it is creepy!

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