Monthly Archives: March 2015

Accessibility around Edmonton

Have you ever wondered how accessible Edmonton really is for people with limited mobility? Cassie Chaba gives us a glimpse!

People think getting around Edmonton in a wheelchair is easy. Ha! It is totally not. Sometimes getting in a doorway is difficult because it might have a bump that is hard to get over, or a narrow doorway or even worse, stairs. For instance, most bars in Edmonton have stairs. I am lucky because I can walk upstairs with assistance or sometimes the bouncers carry my manual wheelchair up the stairs. But if me or somebody else has a power chair, there is no way the bouncer could carry 200 pounds up and down the stairs. Inside, the bars are crowded and small- there is barely enough room to move around and some tables are so high, I can hardly see anything.IMG_3854

Because winter is brutal in Edmonton, I have to take a special kind of transportation, DATS. Taking this kind of transportation is an inconvenience for a person like me because this specific transportation can be late and then they still can be an hour more picking people up and dropping people off.  If I have to go to work or school or an appointment, I would be late. Also, if I was five minutes late, they would take off and leave me stranded.

In the spring, summer and fall I take the normal transportation (ETS) wherever I need to go because it is faster and it is usually on time, other than traffic and trains. Also, I don’t have to wait for the special transportation and it making me late; I can come and go as I pleased without waiting forever. The only bad thing about normal transportation is people sit in the accessible sitting and don’t move. Also sometime the buses are too full people or the ramp doesn’t work and I can’t even get on the bus- I have to wait for another one.

Another barrier is if the elevator not working, I am out of luck. I either have to wait for maintenance to come or I have to go home.

By Cassie Chaba

5 Things To Do This Weekend That Don’t Involve Green Beer

With St.Patrick’s Day festivities happening around Edmonton this weekend and next week, it’s nice to know that there are other options than the traditional green beer. Here is a list of 5 family friendly and alcohol free things that you can do this weekend!Edmonton_Skyline_at_night_-b

1. Experience “Crashed Ice”

Red Bull Crashed Ice comes to Edmonton this weekend and the best part is, it’s completely free! Watch these amazing athletes skate down the incredible ice track through the river valley as they compete for the championship title. The main event is on Saturday starting at 7pm, but there will also be a Team Competition on Friday night, which also starts at 7pm. Visit their website at www.redbullcrashedice.com for all of the details.

2. Go Outside

With temperatures soaring this weekend, it’s the perfect time to head outdoors and take advantage of the weather. Explore one of our cities many parks, try your hand at geocaching, or simply grab some chairs and eat a meal outside! Whatever you do, enjoy this beautiful March weather.

3. Do some crafts

This Saturday, the Musée Héritage will be hosting St.Patrick’s day themed family drop in program. The event is free, but there is a suggested donation of $2-3. They will have games, crafts and “sweet” prizes. For more information, check out their website here.

4. Watch live sports

Interested in martial arts? Head on over to the West Edmonton Mall to watch the Edmonton International Judo Championship. This three day event is free to watch, and who knows? You may feel inspired to try a new sport!

5. Go shopping for a new spring wardrobe

Low on funds? Why not check out some of Edmonton’s many thrift stores! It takes some searching, but you never know what kinds of treasures you may find!

To humanize the mechanized: maladjusted

Wait time. Misunderstanding. Referrals. Cutbacks. Little emotion. Rigid rules. Burnout. These are some of the terms used by the audience members at Friday’s production of “maladjusted” to describe Canada’s current mental health care system. For those of you who missed it, February 27th and 28th were the Edmonton dates for the BC/Alberta tour of Theatre For Living’s “maladjusted”- an interactive theatre production designed to facilitate dialogue around our “mechanized” mental health care system.

IMG_3747The actual play itself is only thirty minutes long, but follows several story lines that intertwine as the plot unfolds. Within that short time, it becomes obvious that each character is frustrated with how the mental health system is functioning , yet for whatever reason are unable to change or “fix” their situation within it. Once the play is finished, audience members are invited to participate. The play starts again, but this time each scene is isolated. If someone in the audience feels that they can understand what the character is IMG_3743experiencing in that scene, and would like to try things differently, they can yell “STOP”and assume the role of the character they’d like to replace.

Not surprisingly, the audience members responded to the call with meaningful suggestions and solutions. Not every situation was completely resolved in each scene, but what  became apparent is this: People are aware of the issues with the current system, and have plenty of ideas about how these problems can be avoided, but recognize that caregivers are often restricted by outdated policies and practices.

What can we do about it? The hope is that changes can be made through dialogue promoted by grass roots movements such as “maladjusted”. The good news is that all of the ideas, responses, suggestions and solutions from each show are recorded by scribes, and will be forwarded to policy makers. With any hope, the voices will be heard, and the system will change for the better.

There are still more stops on the “maladjusted” tour! For more information, visit their website.