News / Toronto

Blog highlights accessible restaurants in Toronto

If visiting Parapan Am Games athletes are looking for a taste of Toronto's food scene, all they need to do is consult AccessTO.

The blog, run by physiotherapist Silvia Guido, reviews accessible restaurants in Toronto.

"I'm hoping the athletes can get their hands on information like this so they can feel more comfortable in the city," Guido said.

Guido started AccessTO in 2013 after hearing her patients -- many of whom had spinal injuries -- complain about not being able to go to their favourite restaurants and bars.

"I love the food scene here," she said. "There are so many new places opening up all the time and I didn't like the idea that my patients couldn't do that any more."

The blog started as a personal project, but Guido has since recruited volunteers to write reviews and recently partnered with accessibility researchers at the University of Toronto.

The website boasts 160 reviews, examining everything from entrances to table heights at eateries across the city. Rather than reviewing restaurants that could improve accessibility, the blog only writes about ones that meet their standards.

"If we can highlight some of the great places, then I'm hoping restaurants that aren't accessible will be more inclined to look at their own spaces," Guido said.

The blog seems to be having the desired effect, Guido said, noting some of the restaurants she's visited have worked to improve accessibility, adding grab bars to washrooms or making patios accessible from the sidewalk.

"We should celebrate the places that are thinking about it and are accessible," she said. "It means a lot to people that there are others out there who might not have a disability but are still going out of their way to remove barriers."

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