In September the team of was in Toronto. We met the Canadian Abilities Foundation, students, and activists of the disability rights movement. And of course, we were out and about and took a little mapping tour in Old Town. 

In September most of the Sozialhelden team headed off to Canada with a direct Air Canada flight from Berlin to Toronto. Our goal was to get an impression of the state of accessibility and inclusion in Canada after having entered into a cooperation with the Canadian Abilities Foundation. Several exciting days were in store for the members of the, und teams – in one of the world’s most multicultural (and possibly friendliest) cities.

The timing of the trip could not have been better. From September 23 to 30, right after our work week, the Invictus Games took place in Toronto. Approximately 500 athletes with a disability from 17 countries competed in a dozen different sports. In addition, on September 23 activists came together in the city for theDisability Pride March to raise awareness for the rights of people with disabilities.

Planning of a MapMyDay with the Canadian Abilities Foundation

Our friends from the Canadian Abilities Foundation (CAF) were our gracious hosts and they had a busy and interesting itinerary planned for us. We sat down together several times and worked out the first steps for a new MapMyDay campaign. The CAF will take the lead in the spring of next year to get Canadians excited to map places around their country.

We are planning to adapt the MapMyDay-Website and the accompanying materials. At the same time we are working on a new technical tool which will make mapping events with groups even easier.

During an evening with the friends of CAF we met activist Luke Anderson. The activities and goals of his StopGap Foundation are ones that we can identify with only too well: distributing brightly colored mobile ramps, developing programs for school children, his advocacy work and great sense of humor really struck a chord.

Meeting with “Inclusive Design” students and ESRI

Another visit took us to the Inclusive Design Research Center, where we met students and lecturers of the Ontario College of Art and Design. Here too a great deal will be happening in the coming months: a student project will be carrying out mapping events regularly with our technical help.

We were especially happy that Jonathan van Dusen, the Higher Education Developer at ESRI, joined us to explain the visualisation possibilities available on the ArcGIS online portal. This tool will make it easier to analyse and understand the results of mapping activities from now on.

Mapping-Tour with CAF, OSM and Mapillary

A highlight of the week was the Wheelmap team’s mapping tour which took us from the Fashion District in the Old Town with its many bars, cafés, shops etc. to the financial district downtown. Together with OpenStreetMappers, Madelen from Mapillary and other interested mappers we branched out, marked places and added new locations to Wheelmap. On the way we got caught up in conversations with people on the street and in the stores. The segment of Wheelmap showing Queen Street West looks much more colorful now.

All in all we were thrilled with the whole experience and really hope that this will not be our last visit to this fascinating Canadian city.

Photos: Andi Weiland, Timo Hermann, Jonas Deister /, 2017
Translation: Silke Georgi /