Saturday, May 11, 2019

Where's That WC?

My latest travel adventure is again in Toronto. Last month we visited Alisha and Derek to help with a house renovation and I think Ryan and Ben got jealous so we received a call about coming up to help them with a project too.

Not exactly Wheelchair accessible
Working with a friend, Ryan is developing a phone app that will help people locate washrooms in and around the Toronto and Vancouver areas. Basically when you open the app on your phone, it identifies your present location and then displays any public washrooms in the area. Ryan asked us to come up and do inspection of over 150 washrooms so that information about them could be entered into the program. Things such as accessibility and amenities are important to people using the app. He had funding to hire someone to do this job, but was unable to find someone locally who wanted to do washroom inspections. SO . . he called his retired parents to help. It meant a paid trip to Toronto and an opportunity to spend time with he and Ben, so we said yes.

After some discussion about the best way to tackle the job, we decided to head out to the end of the Yonge St subway line and work our way through a cluster of sites out there to get a feel for exactly what was involved.
Time for the inspection

We exited the subway and opened the app which clearly directed us to the nearest washroom, about 30 minutes walking away. I was surprised that there were no facilities in or around the Subway station . . . but our job was to do the inspections so we set off following the directions to the first washroom. We walked down a residential street where the Toronto housing boom was evident with the little old houses on the street being torn down and replaced with huge new ones worth millions. We were then directed into a park and down into a ravine along a brook (Add note that this route not wheelchair accessible). We finally came out on the other side of the park where we found the washroom close to the park entrance and on a paved road. This might have been an easier way to get to the washroom.

WOW, did not expect to find this
Clipboards and checklists out, we finished this first inspection and headed to the next, about 15 minutes away in another municipal park. In this park we located three washrooms although the app only had two listed. Here we also discovered an amphitheatre and a ski hill along with a beautiful community centre. Who knew that Toronto had a ski hill within the city or an outdoor theatre big enough to host a Shakespearean Drama? From there we inspected washrooms in a Tennis club, a lawn bowling facility and another park. Fourteen Kilometres later we had discovered a lot more about this city than when we started.

We met a lot of people who wondered what we were doing, and who showed a great deal on interest and approval with the project. Everyone thought it was a very worthwhile idea and would be very useful to people. Seven down, lots more to do . . . . .
There were some failures

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