Weston shows Canada how to host an inclusive Hallowe’en

Weston is celebrating Halloween early, and it will be the first ever for many children and families with special needs. 400,000 children in Canada identify with having a disability that may prevent them from trick-or-treating with their siblings and other kids because of something as simple as stairs. So on Saturday afternoon, thirty households along a portion of Queens Drive decorated their homes, donned costumes, and created an accessible trick-or-treat experience. Simple lessons in accommodation were incorporated, like handing out candy curbside instead of atop the stairs.

The whole thing was filmed and promoted to neighbourhoods across Canada, just in time for Halloween. 

 How did this happen? 

The Padulo Family created the Accessible Trick or Treat movement in 2017. With the help of their event sponsors, they approached the Weston Village Residents’ Association looking for a willing group of neighbours. “Finding neighbours was super easy in Weston, Queens Drive residents were enthusiastic from the start,” says Dave Bennett of the WVRA. Then, Councillor Nunziata helped arrange a street permit in just five days, record time! And Toronto Police Service was quick to lend a hand.  

“It’s more like a street party this way, and it’s so obvious, we’ll always be curbside now,” said Jen and Dani – with Max ready for the SWAT team. Another couple, Margaret and Pauline, recounted how an 18-year-old boy had just come by with his family; it was his first-ever Halloween. He was thrilled! And new neighbours Elliott and Emily (who moved in 1 month ago) are thrilled to see what Weston neighbours are all about. They are excited to participate. 

 How to get involved this Halloween? Visit www.treataccessibly.com There you can order signs to promote a group of neighbours committed to a more accessible Hallowe’en. The site outlines various simple measures any homeowner can take to create a more inclusive and fun Halloween for all.  Way to go, Weston! 

Treat accessibly: an amazing idea. Sign up!

Rich Padulo’s daughter Sienna had a great idea: make trick-or-treating accessible to everyone. Now the Padulos are making that happen on Queens Drive—and you can be a part of it. It sounds really fantastic.

The plan comes from a terrific insight: trick-or-treating is hard for kids with disabilities. Navigating steps and streets is a pain, and the night can overwhelming. The Padulos set out to fix that, and Queens Drive will be piloting the idea on Saturday, October 2.

Queens Drive will be closed to most traffic between Pine and Elm from 2 and 7 pm to allow kids from Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital to treat-or-treat. Pre-registered kids from the community are encouraged to come, too—wearing their best costumes, of course!

The pre-registration part is important: to make sure that the space is safe, inviting, and easily navigable (and if you’ve been to Queens Drive on the other Hallowe’en, you know it can be epic), only kids who have preregistered will be invited to attend.

You can preregister here. (They ask that older kids register for later time slots.)

I can’t tell you how excited I am about this. Rich Padulo’s enthusiasm is amazing. He wants this to be the start of something big—not just for Weston, or even Toronto. He says, the goal is”to get the country to treat accessibly. Treat Accessibly is intended to be the tip of the spear to treat accessibly, and act accessibly for the rest of the year.”

Graves discovered during St John demolition

The graves of four people were discovered while demolishing St John The Evangelist, according to InsideToronto.

Martin Proctor, a local folklorist and community hero, has a long discussion on a Weston Facebook page. He says the graves

 would have been from the old St. John the Evangelist Church cemetery…. burials were still taking place at least as late as the early 1890s….

 

SJTE
The old St John the Evangelist church

Thanks to Anon for the tip.

Zombies invade!

Last night, despite the rain, thousands of zombies and vampires descended on Weston, failing, on the whole, to scare any residents.

Our man on Queens says that attendance was down from last year; he reckons that about 650 kids visited his house, compared to 800 last year. Queens was still the hot destination, though; at my house, we got only around 200 goblins before we turned out the lights.

Reviewers said (in fewer words) that the evening was a great success, despite the weather; in response to my questions, I heard,  “Uh huh. Humph, humph. Yeah. Nom, nom“, which I took to be satisfaction with the night.

The second annual WestonWeb award for best house design goes out to the Egyptians on Queens. Their costumes were especially brilliant; they hand-made masks and clothing to represent the Egyptian gods. The prize: as much chocolate as you can carry.