It was a special day to celebrate Dad.

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The little one wanted to start it right by taking over some of dad’s stereotypical “male” responsibilities. The pint sized garbage in the condo has given him confidence in taking over “garbage duty.” Everything that goes down our tri-sorter in the corridor is a much more manageable size compared to the bins at home (that are by no exaggeration bigger than him). He also loves the decision making that’s involved in the process as he decides what category of waste he’s disposing of.

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Daddy had some “down” time as we headed out to get him some decadent treats at a nearby patisserie.

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Not only were we amazed at what was inside the bakery, but also what we noticed walking out of the bakery. We walked out of the store and down a small ramp.  A glimpse of something from  the corner of my eye looked somewhat familiar and caught my attention.  I turned back to take a second look. It was a stopgap ramp. I was thrilled!

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Source: Stopgap

This was a familiar and favourite story of mine. A story my boys new. This was about Luke, the Ramp Man. A hero in my house.

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Stopgap is an initiative of a friend of mine, Luke Anderson, whom I first met when I had the privilege of hearing him speak at an event for work one evening with the Urban Land Insitute.  In 2002, Luke had a biking accident that resulted in him discovering first hand, just how inaccessible our city and our communities are for people in wheelchairs. He quickly realized that physical barriers in our built environment prevent many of us from enjoying some amazing buildings and spaces.  Luke’s mission was to make our city a place where every person can access every space.

I was so impressed with Luke and he inspired me to broaden the concept of how accessible our own communities are.  We built our relationship with Luke and even created a “condo challenge” with him, to see just how accessible or inaccessible our communities truly are. And quite honestly, it didn’t take long to realize that what works well for a young man such as himself in a wheelchair, works well for a parent with a stroller, and a pedestrian with their arms filled with groceries. It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s just the smart thing to do.

We wanted Dad to have even some more “down” time as he’d be coaching baseball later. And so we headed down to the field to kick the soccer ball around.

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Little did we know we’d meet a handful of other kids and be able to have a decent sized pick up game… spontaneously! This is how fun used to happen. These days however, we tend to have to schedule everything. This would never have happened in our old neighbourhood.

We headed to my sister’s house for lunch later that afternoon. I had the luxury of sitting on her patio, as the boys bounced on her trampoline.  I had five minutes (or more) to kick my feet up, listen to the birds, and gaze at the sky. Life was good. Could I possibly be missing the single family lifestyle?

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The day ended with an evening baseball game for my oldest son. The little two were happy spectators, with a park and splashpad for them to frolic in (and a fence to climb). And so to answer my own question… no, I wasn’t yet missing my patio or my own personal bbq and the associated maintenance of both. (I abhor putting the patio cushions away each evening… and scrubbing the bbq grill).  So while I may miss the idea of it, I’d still rather use someone else’s and share the responsibility, thank you very much.

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