Join Sidewalk Labs on Saturday, September 22, from 12–6 p.m. at 307 for Open Sidewalk: The Accessible City.
An intentionally flexible city is accessible for every body, everywhere, and every day. People should be able to use things the way that makes the most sense for them, and we should build that flexibility and hackability into our spaces. That could mean adaptable furniture that can be repositioned, regardless of your strength or size, doors that can easily open, without requiring any particular dexterity, or technology that lets you access traffic signal devices with greater ease.
We don’t think one size fits most. One size fits one, and with technology, we can allow for dynamic flexibility in the city environment. Throughout history, the accessibility community has meaningfully pushed the fields of digital technology and computer science forward, and we want to formalize and encourage this throughout Quayside and beyond.
For us, it’s important that we address and begin this conversation now, which is why our third Open Sidewalk will focus on the theme of “The Accessible City”.
We welcome you to come and be part of co-creating a neighbourhood that can work for everyone.
Come See This Month’s Presentations and Explorations-in-Progress
CNIB: Navigating 307
12PM-6PM Main Hall
We’ve partnered with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind’s ShopTalk program and BlindSquare to provide navigational beacons to test how we can build flexible, public spaces with enhanced wayfinding capabilities for everyone. These navigational beacons, paired with the free “Event” version of the BlindSquare app, provide spoken descriptions of the spatial layout, as well as rich descriptions of the experiments, prototypes, and explorations in progress at 307.
Eliza Chandler: Keynote Address
3PM Main Hall
Eliza Chandler will consider the close relationship between art, accessibility, and social change as it contributes to the development of activist art, aesthetics, communities, and accessible curatorial practices and disability politics across Canada.
This Vancouver-based company will demonstrate new technology that enables accessible touchless subway fare gates and elevator requests via integrated radio-frequency identification (RFID) systems. People who are unable to mobilize their arms have benefited tremendously from this technology, and will now be able to independently and smoothly navigate through the transit system throughout their journey.
12PM-6PM Main Hall
Key2Access is revolutionizing pedestrian mobility with cutting edge wireless technology that allows users to easily request to cross a street — without having to find and reach the button on the pole. A simulated street crossing on the Dynamic Street (info below) will allow visitors to use the Key2Access app to request a traffic light signal change.
Tangled Arts + Disability: FLOURISHING
12PM-6PM Main Hall
Tangled Arts + Disability will bring works from their current exhibition, FLOURISHING: SOMEHOW WE STAY ATTUNED. As our understandings of disability shift, we must consider how our definitions of the surrounding world must also shift. Evoking new dynamics of the disabled experience, this exhibition attempts to re-world the narratives of non-normative futures of embodiment.
Tangled Arts + Disability: Artist Talks
5PM Main Hall
- Sarah Ferguson’s work explores the trans experience; how trans individuals embody themselves and their environments.
- Peter Owusu-Ansah’s work as a Deaf artist seeks to deepen audiences’ perception of visual art and understanding of how Deaf folks navigate a hearing world.
- Salima Punjani’s work asks audiences to interact with their bodies and their surroundings in new contextual ways. Each artist uses their work as a springboard for us to challenge our understandings of bodies, both our own and those of others.
Tecla & AccessNow
12PM-6PM Main Hall
Tecla is a cloud-connected assistive device allowing an individual to interact with their iOS and Android devices, computers, and smart home systems hands-free with ability switches. Tecla is for anyone who can’t easily use a smartphone, tablet, or computer. This includes those with limited upper-body mobility resulting from spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, ALS, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, brain injuries, or stroke. They’ll be demonstrating a Tecla device while navigating and exploring the Access Now app; and using a Tecla device in a ‘connected home’ setting.
More Prototypes at 307
- The Dynamic Street tests modular pavement and lights that can be programmed to give more street space to pedestrians, more of the time.
- Mass Timber: Tall Timber Buildings is a detailed visual exploration of tall timber design that utilizes Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), construction methods, and uses in structures around the world.
- Digital Electricity: 307 harnesses digital electricity, an emerging technology that allows for the delivery of high voltage and current using off-the-shelf cabling typically used in low voltage applications. This system reduces construction costs, minimizes the risk of electric shock as compared to standard AC power, and allows better diagnostics on energy consumption.
Currently, you can see digital electricity at work via our Big Ass Fans™ (yes, that’s their name!)
- Building Blocks explores flexible ways for communities to have agency over their public spaces. It’s our firm belief that cities should be created by everyone, and extending the Bowery Project’s ingenious use of milk crates, we’ve created a simple proof of concept that allows you to use and create your own public space. Milk crates have long been part of the tactical urbanist toolkit and we, too, see them as a useful prototyping tool.
- The Learning Garden by Bowery Project is a green, sustainable, experiential and delicious attraction, complimenting the 307 site that grows in milk crates in our above-ground mobile garden. Various herbs and pollinator flowers are harvested and used by Sidewalk staff and community, donated to nearby food banks and sold to local restaurants throughout the season. Bowery Project has also installed Toronto’s first mobile orchard at 307 – we are growing several varieties of pear trees that move around as needed as the site adapts for various events and prototypes.
- Plan Your Neighbourhood explores a new data-driven approach to urban planning known as “generative design.” We’ve installed a design tool that allows visitors to explore design choices, such as the orientation of a street grid, or the percentage of parks in a district. Users can see first-hand what it’s like to generate unique plans, evaluate how well they perform, and weigh trade-offs. The Plan Your Neighbourhood prototype is designed with KPFUI, a research team that uses data in the service of more livable, equitable and resilient cities, and Daily Tous Les Jours, an interaction design studio with a focus on participation.
Food and non-alcoholic drinks are available all day from 12–6pm in Market 307, led by Scadding Court Community Centre, local leaders pioneering new opportunities for entrepreneurs of all backgrounds. Food vendors will use Square to accept cards and will accept cash. This month we’re featuring delicious options from Scadding Court Community Centre’s Newcomer Entrepreneurship Program:
- Stuff’d offers delicious soul food in the form of jam packed grilled cheese sandwiches. Feast on the Double Cheese Burger Tots, the Jamrock Grilled Cheese, and the Bombay Bad Boy Grilled Cheese! (Stuff’d will accept Debit tap cards.)
- Desi Indian Done Right cooks up delicious East Indian wraps served in thick, fluffy naan showcasing their original sauces like butter chicken, vegan Indian and vegan mung curry. (Desi Indian Done Right will accept credit cards.)
Who Is Invited?
You! And anyone else you know who is interested in the future of Toronto. RSVP by clicking the green REGISTER button right here on this page — registering isn’t required, but appreciated! (It allows us to gauge headcount and to keep you updated of any last-minute changes.)
Getting to 307
307 is located at 307 Lake Shore Boulevard East (at the base of Queens Quay East and Parliament Street). There are a number of options for getting there:
- Bike Share: We’re thrilled to celebrate the first Bike Share Toronto station on Quayside, located at Parliament and Lake Shore Boulevard East.
- Cycling: Bike parking is available at 333 Lake Shore Boulevard East. There is limited bike parking onsite.
- Bus: 307 is accessible by TTC on the 72B Pape.
- Wheel-trans: A designated drop-off/pick-up point can be found on the east side of Small Street, between Parliament Street and Lakeshore Boulevard East.
- Parking: Pay parking is available at 333 Lakeshore Boulevard East (enter from Parliament Street).
Accessibility at 307
Site and select washrooms are wheelchair accessible. ASL-English interpretation will be available for this event. Find out more about accessibility at 307 with our PDF guide (find screen reader version here). Please reach out to our team at [email protected] should you have any questions about accessibility.
What is 307?
We’ve transformed an old fish processing plant and parking lot into an experimental work space — 307 is where Sidewalk Labs works every day in Toronto and is open to the public every weekend. Inside and outside, we’re exploring some of the ideas that could become part of this future neighbourhood and establishing an open venue for community collaboration. We’re excited to co-create and share our explorations with you as the Sidewalk Toronto project evolves.
Who Is Behind 307 and Open Sidewalk?
307 and Open Sidewalk are a massive collaboration with many extraordinary new friends and partners from Toronto, Canada, and around the world. The architectural transformation of the 307 building has been led by Lebel and Boulaine and Govan Brown. Daily Tous Les Jours and illustrator Cecile Gariepy are the designers behind the identity of the building and our flexible system for experimentation. Bowery Project has created the outdoor Learning Garden. The Dynamic Street prototype is designed with Carlo Ratti Associati. The Plan Your Neighbourhood prototype is designed with KPFUI and Daily Tous Les Jours.
Partners and Performers
- Bike Share Toronto: Bike Share Toronto has opened a brand new hub onsite, adding to their network of over 270 stations and 2,750 bikes. The 307 team is thrilled to offer this enjoyable and cost-effective mobility option on Quayside.
- Bowery Project: Bowery Project is a not-for-profit organization that designs, builds, and manages mobile urban farms all across downtown Toronto; growing food for local chefs/restaurants and charitable organizations, while engaging the community through fun, creative, and educational programming.
- AccessNow: AccessNow is all about sharing accessibility information around the world. Their goal is to map as many places as they possibly can, finding ways to create access where there currently is none. As the accessibility status of locations is pinpointed, we can all start looking at how to turn all the red pins, “not accessible”, to green pins, “accessible”. Currently their work in Toronto sees them mapping the 40-km PanAm path for Google Maps via cameras mounted on wheel chairs. By street-viewing parks and trails, people with varying mobility can understand and see terrain, self-assess, and trip plan in advance or en route. This helps break down barriers—reducing apprehension and risk of being stranded due to unexpected stairs, gradients, missing bathrooms, or rough ground—as well as creates opportunities for everyone to engage with nature, something we feel particularly strongly about at Sidewalk Labs.
- Canadian National Institute for the Blind: The Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) is a 100-year-old not-for-profit and Canada’s leading provider of support for people who are blind or partially sighted to have the confidence, skills, and opportunities to fully participate in life.
- Eliza Chandler: Eliza Chandler earned her PhD from the Social Justice and Education department at the University of Toronto in 2014. She was appointed as the Artistic Director at Tangled Art + Disability, an organization in Toronto dedicated to the cultivation of disability arts, as well as founding Artistic Director of Tangled Art Gallery, Canada’s first art gallery dedicated to showcasing disability art and advancing accessible curatorial practice. She served as a postdoctoral research fellow in Ryerson University’s School of Disability Studies from 2014-2016. Chandler is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Disability Studies at Ryerson University and is the co-director of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)-funded partnership project, Bodies in Translation: Activist Art, Technology, and Access to Life. As well, she sits on the Board of Directors for the Ontario Arts Council and is a practicing disability artist and curator.
- Hyperlight Systems: Hyperlight Systems has developed a smart cities platform that transforms accessibility. Their vision is simple: Access for Everyone. Everywhere. Their mission is to create seamless mobility experiences that delight users and make our cities more inclusive and livable.
- Key2Access: Key2Access is an Ottawa-based company revolutionizing pedestrian mobility with cutting edge wireless technology that allows users to request crossing without having to find and reach the button on the pole. Dexterity is often assumed in our designs, and Key2Access is using technology to bypass and provide an alternate solution.
- Scadding Court Community Centre: Scadding Court Community Centre is leading our Market 307. They are a local community center known for their innovative ideas — be it their entrepreneurial Market 707 or their aquaponics experiments. At Market 307, Scadding will be bringing in a host of vendors from their various markets and programs, including several vendors from the Newcomer Entrepreneurship Hub, a business incubator that helps New Canadians gain their footing in an unfamiliar market.
- Tangled Art + Disability: Tangled Art + Disability is an organization and gallery dedicated to enhancing opportunities for artists with disabilities. Showcasing and promoting artists with disabilities from visual, performing, media arts, film and integrated art forms the organization aims toward building an inclusive arts and culture sector so that everyone can appreciate the abundance of art our society has to offer.
- Tecla: Tecla is a Toronto-based technology company that provides accessible switches and input devices that make it far easier for people who identify with certain disabilities to use mobile devices. We will be featuring two demo experiences at 307 throughout the month of September, one that pairs with Access Now’s mapping capabilities, and another connected home demo that allows one to streamline the switch between home activity settings, such as reading mode (turning on a lamp, opening an ebook) or video mode (turning off a lamp, bringing up a video) in a seamless, easy manner.