As a newcomer to the Danforth area who happens to walk with a crutch, I thought long and hard about what I would like to see as a reader of On The Danforth. The Danforth is a lively, vibrant neighourhood with so much culture and experiences, but, accessibility-wise, it’s lacking. The buildings are old and rarely have accessible basements. Nonetheless, it’s an amazing part of the city, and we should all have the chance to explore it. This is how to spend a day on the Danforth without the worry of accessibility barriers. (Note: I wasn’t able to visit all the spots, but rest assured each business was thoroughly researched on the phone.)
Shop For Household Items at iQLiving
If you love buying things for your home, you will likely spend hours at iQLiving. The customer service is excellent (they will answer all your questions about two seemingly identical frying pans with a smile), and their high-quality products will take care of your home’s every need: coffee makers, cookbooks, hygene and beauty products, rugs, scented candles—anything your heart desires can be found at this store, which has large and easy-to-navigate aisles.
Take a Break at Red Rocket Coffee
This coffee joint is located at 1364 Danforth Ave. The all-time favourite menu choices of loyal clients include scones, peanut butter cookies, and, of course, the coffee—there’s a vast selection of coffee grounds that’s bound to please every palate. The staff is friendly, and the seatings, washroom, and entrance are all accessible (although note that seating can get a little tight at busy times). If you feel like your day on the Danforth is looking pretty packed already, but you’re still curious to taste some of Red Rocket’s pièces de résistance, they’ve got you covered with an online delivery service—you can also get a Red Rocket t-shirt!
Lose Yourself in an Intriguing Story at The Danforth Public Library
What’s better than spending a couple hours of your afternoon with your nose buried in a book? The Danforth/Coxwell branch of the Toronto Public Library is well-stocked, has neatly-organized book stations, and, most of all, it’s accessible: the bathroom in particular is on the main floor, which is rare for the Danforth. The place is air-conditioned, so for those of you who can’t stand intense temperatures, worry not!
Stop For Dinner at The Aviator
The Aviator is located at 1548 Danforth Ave, and the owner cares a great deal about everyone feeling welcome here—her father has Parkinson’s disease, so designing an accessible restaurant was her top priority. She and her husband are always open to suggestions: from offering heavier cutlery after a woman with MS suggested it, to introducing mocktails for those who can’t mix medication with alcohol, they go above and beyond to accomodate any request. The bathroom is accessible, spacious and with many handles to cling to; so is the entrance (with its large automatic door) and seating areas (with tables high enough for wheelchairs to fit comfortabily under them). The food is delicious: the tomato tatin and lemon profiterole are to die for. They also offer a great selection of wine and amari.
End Your Day With A Performance at The Danforth Music Hall
Featuring live acts since the 1970s, and renovated in 2011, the music hall is a real Danforth staple. While there is the option to purchase disability tickets, they’ll do their best to find accessible seating for you, even if you bought a non-accessible ticket. Unfortunately, there’s no elevator to the second floor, where the balcony seats are located, but the rest of the auditorium is fully accessible. The staff also replies to email inquiries on accessibility within 48 hours. While you’ll mostly catch shows from emerging artists, the occasional Lorde, Justin Bieber, or Rihanna will pop up. Thanks to these accessible additions, you will be able to eat, read, and shop stress-free on the Danforth!